After watching, and reminiscing about, the recent Fatboy Slim/Big Beach Boutique documentary on Sky/NOWTV, I was inspired to put together a mix all my own, so you can see how good Norm is and how not-quite as good I am.
Usual disclaimer applies: any poor mixes are down to me (although I think I’ve done alright this time), any skips or jumps are down to the mixing software or the uploading process; all song choices are mine.
Here you go:
Friday Night Music Club Vol 25
And here’s your track-listing, complete with some reminisces of my clubbing years, where some (but not all) names have been changed to protect the innocent:
- Jip/John Simm – The Weekend Has Landed
Not a song, but a bit of dialogue from the greatest ever film about clubbing, Human Traffic. This is not just a clarion call to all those about to have it large, but, performed by John Simm, it also acts as a callback to that day in Brighton back in 2002. Simm was there as an ordinary punter, but was spotted (so he says) by host of E4‘s coverage Vernon Kaye, who hauled him in front of the cameras for a quick interview. There’s an amusing moment in the aforementioned documentary where Simm, one of several celebrity interviewees, is shown the interview, after which he sheepishly admits he has no recollection of it whatsoever.
2. Crazy Penis – There’s a Better Place
Ignore the dreadful name of the act: I bet you weren’t expecting a tune which samples Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, right?
Long before I started writing this blog, I had an idea to collate loads of clubbing related stories from my buddies, and weave them into some sort of a narrative. So, I contacted them, and asked for their memories, and a few of them came back to me. This, which has sat in my inbox for over ten years, is one of them, from a mate who was mostly known by a nickname; since he’s now a police officer, I figured it probably best I use neither his real nor his nickname, so for the purposes of this post he shall be referred to as Bully.
Both of his recollections (another will be along shortly) are set in Cardiff’s now defunct The Emporium, a club which I frequented frequently and mention here regularly. It was, quite simply, my favourite club in Cardiff; after it closed down and the regular nights had to find new venues, none of the nights were ever quite the same or anywhere near as good.
To come anywhere near understanding Bully’s reminisce, you first have to have a basic understanding of the layout of The Emporium; located at the top end of St Mary’s Street (the exterior is actually used in Human Traffic as the venue the clubbers are queuing up to get in to), and above a run of shops, after you’d climbed the stairs to the actual venue, gone past the cloakroom and the final line of bouncers (I knew and had worked with their boss many years earlier, so I was never searched for contraband, which was fortuitous for reasons which I imagine you can figure out for yourself), the first room you came into was a chill-out area, with seats and benches around the perimeter, a step to a raised area where a DJ played mostly relaxed beats, a bar, and a spiral staircase leading to The Attic (which may have actually been called The Loft, I forget which after all this years) which was either rammed when it played host to a reasonably well known DJ (as it was when I saw the excellent Plump DJs there) or, mostly, deserted: it was always one or the other, no middle ground. On the other side, was a wooden staircase, with a top step which was notoriously a little bit higher than all the rest: you would see someone trip up it at least two or three times every night. Then you were into the Main Room, complete with podiums which anyone could get on to (before you ask, no I never did).
Anyway, here’s Bully’s recollection about the tune in question: “…this tune seemed like it was always on in the first room as you enter the place – at first it was spinning me out because of the sample in it but is soo funky i just had to wait for it to finish before going into the Main Room.”
NB: Due to my (failed) attempts to keep this mix to 60 minutes length, I may have mixed this tune into the next a bit early for you to fully appreciate the funkiness to which Bully alludes. My apologies.)
3. Orbital – Chime
This doesn’t really need any introduction or explanation, does it? A ground-breaking classic.
4. Adamski – N.R.G.
I remember this from my days DJing at college, not because of the cover which had a bottle of Lucozade, only with Adamski’s name replacing that of the energy drink, on it, but because at the time I thought it was a bloody awful record, as I did most records from this genre at the time. I’m happy to announce I’ve subsequently changed my mind: it’s bloody marvellous.
5. Alison Limerick – Where Love Lives (Perfecto Remix)
This has featured on these pages before with a wee bon-mot about it’s relevance to me so, since my hands are already hurting from typing, you’ll forgive me for copy and pasting here what I wrote back then (with a couple of additions and amendments):
This got dropped at an Old Skool night; long-time buddy Hel had gone to visit the ladies’ room and managed to get back to us on the dance floor just as this ended and it mixed into the next banger.
This became a recurring theme. The tune didn’t get played that much, but just like you can be sure your team will score the moment you pop to the loo, so it was that you could guarantee that if it did get played, Hel would be otherwise engaged.
And so it became something of a running joke, to the point where, when at home playing tunes, I would often wait until she had just locked the bathroom door, estimated when she would be just taking up position, before skipping to play it. I’m nice like that.
This was particularly annoying for her, as it was one of her favourite tunes.
I don’t think we ever got to dance to it in a club environment together, although a few years ago, Limerick did appear at a mini-festival thing in Brockwell Park, Sarf London. Hel & I were there. Limerick did three songs: her other hit (which I didn’t recognise), a cover version (of something I don’t remember), and of course Where Love Lives – a stone-cold classic if ever I heard one.
6. Junior Jack – E Samba
Although I had it in my head that this was somehow linked to Jon Carter (I was always frequently wrong about this sort of thing, like my head was already too full of useless stuff like chart positions of Quo singles to be able to retain things like which DJ we had just seen, or who did which remix of what tune), but on researching/double-checking this I find that Junior Jack was actually the stage name of Italian DJ Vito Lucente, who was also responsible (under the moniker Room 5 and featuring disco artist Oliver Cheatham on vocals) for the 2003 UK #1 single Make Luv, which I’m sure you’d recognise if you heard it.
Whatever, it’s carnival time, and this is ace.
7. Atlantic Ocean – Waterfall
Another Old Skool classic. Nuff said.
8. Camisra – Let Me Show You
This one features in the Fatboy documentary, as it cropped up in his set; not all the songs did, but this one appeared due to a link to not one but two celebrities who were in attendance that day: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, they of Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun on the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End) and Channel 4 slacker sitcom Spaced fame, all of which were directed by Edgar Wright.
There’s a famous (relatively speaking) episode of Spaced where the gang go clubbing, and this song features prominently:
Although my favourite scene is this, where courier/clubber/dealer Tyres (played by the ever brilliant Michael Smiley) visits Tim (Pegg) and Daisy (Jessica Hynes)’s flat, where the slightest rhythmical sounds sets him off ‘on one’:
Anyway, in the Fatboy documentary, Pegg says that he was told the superstar DJ had included this in his set because it had featured in Spaced and because he knew Pegg and Frost were in the crowd that day. (NB: Norm does not verify this.)
9. Heavy Rock – [I Just Want to Be a] Drummer
Back in the early 2000’s (this came out in 2004, I think), there was a whole raft of these sort of tunes whipping up the crowds in clubland; tunes where the vocal was a deep voiced male who spoke the words rather than make any effort to sing. There’s one such tune which I’ve mentioned here before (so won’t bore you with the details again – suffice it to say, it’s a lot ruder than this example) that I’ve never managed to identify or track down. If you think you might be able to help, let me know via either the Comments or, if you’d prefer, at the email address hidden somewhere on this page. Thanks in advance.
In the meantime, one night, quite early on in my clubbing career, towards the end of the night, I found myself sitting on the step in the chill out area I described with tune 2 in tonight’s mix. There are three things I loved about clubbing: the music, the dancing, and, as Jip/John Simm put it in the opening monologue, “…talking cod-shit to strangers.” This should come as no surprise to you. On this occasion, however, I was sitting not with a stranger, but with Gaz, a friend who I remain in touch with to these days, as he’s in my group of London chums. This was, I think, maybe the second or third time I’d met Gaz, and I remember very little of what we talked about (bar some running jokes I had going with some of my mates – usually at their expense – this is not unusual: I remember snatches of conversation, but very rarely entire conversations or who they were with. Some of them will crop up in future posts, I’m sure). But I do remember this highly intellectual exchange:
Me: “You’re a drummer, aren’t you?” (I already knew this to be a fact)
Gaz (looking at me both blankly and confused): Yeh. How do you know that?
Me: Drummer’s arms. You’ve got drummer’s arms.
To this day, I have no idea what I meant by this, but I do think The Drummer’s Arms would be a fine name for a pub.
10. Green Velvet – Flash
Green Velvet has a history of making records which, at first blush, seem to be pro-recreational drug use, but aren’t (see also La La Land which featured in Volume 19 of Friday Night Music Club). This one, which I only ever heard played out once, is generally unsettling.
As I often do, when I can’t quite remember where I was when a tune got played, and/or who played it, I turn to my own personal clubbing history wikipedia, my old mate Dum Dum, who confirmed my suspicion that it got dropped at an outdoor event in Swansea’s Margam Country Park, an event called Escape to the Park (Escape being the name of a chain of clubs, one of of which was located in Swansea, which even professional Welshman Rhod Gilbert describes as “shit…a desperate dump…devoid of any hope…”):
Anyway, within the message I got from Dum Dum confirming the location was this extra bit of info: we were, apparently, in the “….Progressive Arena: Sasha, Steve Lawler, Jan Carbon, Ian Dungey, Darren Emerson, Hybrid and Richard Hitchell. Possible Lawler [dropped it] as he played it a lot.” (See what I mean about him being my own personal clubbing history wikipedia? It’s amazing to me, as he started clubbing and partaking in all the naughtiness the scene provides, many years before I did, so his brain cells should by all rights be fried.)
I remember hearing this tune that day because I also remember turning to Dum Dum and asking “What the fuck is this??”. “Haven’t you heard this before?” was his incerdulous reply. No, Dum Dum, I haven’t, that’s why I’m asking.
Anyhoo, Flash tells of Mr Velvet taking some older generation folks on a guided tour of a club, where he invites them to take photographs of the clubbers indulging in various banned substances. It’s great, if a little unsettling. But perhaps that’s just me, who, when approached by photographers, paid to snap happy dancing clubbers to promote the club night in question, would always tell them to fuck off and that they didn’t have my permission to photograph me. I’ve hated pretty much every photo taken of me, mostly because many of them look like I’m off my tits; the last thing I wanted was photos of me when I actually was out in the public arena.
11. Spektrum – Kinda New (We All Live & Die) (Tiefschwarz Vocal Mix)
As promised, back to a bit of Bully:
“In the main room, for me – the track was Spektrum – Kinda New (Tiefshwarz mix) – this track was the bomb, blew us away everytime. I remember just dancing to this and always peering to see where you are and seeing you grinning back to me when this track was on – I’m sure Lottie played it and it went off!”
12. Zombie Nation – Kernkraft 400
Since the only words spoken in this tune are “Zombie Nation”, many mistakenly think that’s the name of the tune, rather than the artiste performing it.
This tune has a very specific memory for me (I doubt you’ve gotten this far, but if you have: look away now, Mum and Dad): there used to be a bar on Park Place in Cardiff called Inncognitos that I often frequented. Within walking distance of the town centre, it was often used by those on the way into, or on the way home from, town, as a stopping off point. A watering hole, an oasis, if you will.
As well as the main bar, it had a beer garden and a conservatory, the latter of which doubled up as a dancefloor whenever they had a DJ playing. One Sunday, when Cardiff’s Big Weekend (a free-for-all three day event featuring local talent as well as established bands/artistes on the way up or down) was on, and I met with some friends (all of whom shall remain nameless for this bit, for reasons which will soon become apparent) at Inncognitos under the misapprehension that we were having a few beers there before heading to the festival, which was just across the way.
But no. At some point, one of them whispered to me that they were staying there because they had “some pills” and they wanted to dance. A DJ, Radio 1’s Fergie, was playing there later that night (Dum Dum wasn’t there, I remembered that all by myself).
I told them I wasn’t interested, but, a pint or two later and my barriers severely dropped, I asked if I might get in on the action.
The friend who had told me about the class-A’s approached the other two and broke the good news to them: “Jez is up for it!”
“That’s great,” I was subsequently told they replied, “but we’ve only got three. If he wants a cheeky half, who’s going to give it to him?”
I’m also told – apologetically – that the other two made it very clear they were not prepared to surrender half of their already small stash. It was decided that the friend who had told me about the pills, should share his with me (in a sort of “he-who-smelt-it-dealt-it kind of way”).
I remember very little of what happened after that other than: I recognised two girls that I worked with were also there that night, and that I spent much of the rest of the night avoiding them whilst standing to the side of the dancefloor, rubbing my head and taking deep, sharp breaths through a permanently O-shaped mouth.
This was one of the tunes I do remember being played that night.
13. Darude – Sandstorm
And this is another, hence my enormous affection to both.
But before I go any further, I should make it clear that I’m not condoning the use of ecstacy, nor would I wish to encourage the use of it, I’m merely relating what happened when I did,
I fucking loved it.
On later nights out I bumped into both of the girls who were there that first night, and since they both have fairly popular names, I can mention them without fear of any repercussions: Lisa and Rachel. Like an e’d up Tigger, Lisa came bouncing up to me one night to say hello on the dancefloor at The Emporium; Rachel was a little more demure, sliding up to me one night to say hi. We discussed that night in Inncognitos, and, bless her, she told me she didn’t remember seeing me there as she was also off her face, but she thought me rubbing my head etc was very funny and sweet. I met her and her fiance out many times over the next few years, and we often partied hard when I told her it was the occasion of the anniversary of my first drop.
As I said, this is a tune I associate with that first night, but just in case you find it unpalatable, have a watch of this:
14. Who Da Funk Feat. Jessica Eve – Shiny Disco Balls
Just a tune. That is all.
15. Underworld – Two Months Off [King Unique Sunspots Vocal Mix]
Ditto. I love Underworld, and the original mix of this, but this version knocks the [sun] spots off that.
16. The Streets – Weak Become Heroes (Ashley Beedle’s Love Bug Vocal)
To end things, the most perfect description of clubbing ever committed to record, including that ‘talking-cod-shit-to-strangers’ stuff I mentioned earlier.
For those of you not in the know, Ashley Beedle is one part of X-Press 2, who, without wishing to sound all ‘look-at-me-I-know-what-I’m-talking-about’, you will know from their Lazy single with Talking Heads’ David Byrne providing vocals.
The original version, which appears on The Streets’ Original Pirate Material album is already brilliant, but here it’s made even more brilliant here by Beedle.
That’s yer lot.