Oh shizzle...this party has the makings of something dope-alicious. James Lavelle is an innovator and a creator of awesome things. I actually found out about BAPE gear b/c of him. I am a huge supporter of Mo' Wax records. Dang...just found out that he's working on something with Darren Aronofsky.
Omar S is cooler than Miles Davis sitting in his own puddle of piss after a half hour. He's got his own label as well. He's got this one release that starts from the middle of the record, and plays outwards to the edge. It's hilarious seeing someone try to cue the record for the first time. Fucking hilarious. Especially when the person is really, really drunk. And when I'm drunk. I can't wait to get drunk tonight. Seriously though, Omar S makes some fucking quality music and keeps it real.
Anyway...this is dope. Dope, dope, dope.
Oh yeah...Omar S is slated to do the next installment in the venerable Fabric mix series. Here's what Resident Advisor had to say about it (link to page here):
Fabric will ask you to put your hands up for Detroit later this year when it invites Motor City producer Omar-S to become the next artist to grace its celebrated mix series.
The fiercely independent producer isn't repping his city so much as himself, however, as the tracklist looks a lot like Ricardo Villalobos' turn at the Fabric helm. That's right, Fabric 45 is an all-Omar affair. The street racer has put on some of his most famous productions, most notably "Psychotic Photosynthesis" a song which Omar claims he put together in a matter of minutes, and added four new tracks of previously unreleased material. In typical Detroit style, he told Fabric, "I don't need other people's music; I got over 100 songs released. I can make fucking six fucking Fabric records right now. I can probably make fucking ten CDs just of unreleased shit."
As for how to play this mix? Omar suggests the louder, the better: "A lot of my music sounds better when it's really, really, really loud, because I made it really, really, really loud. All the speakers in my studio are blown right now. The same headphones you see me DJ with are the same headphones I've had for fifteen years. Every track I've released came through those Sony headphones that I travel with."
Tracklist 01. Omar-S - Polycopter 02. Omar-S - Flying Gorgars 03. Omar-S - Strider's World 04. Omar-S - Oasis Four 05. Omar-S - Crusin Conant 06. Omar-S - U 07. Omar-S - Oasis 13 ½ 08. Omar-S - 1 Out Of 853 Beats 09. Omar-S - Simple Than Sorry 10. Omar-S - Psychotic Photosynthesis 11. Omar-S - The Maker 12. Omar-S - A Victim 13. Omar-S - Oasis One 14. Omar-S - Blade Runner 15. Omar-S - Day 16. Omar-S - Set Me Out
Alright...I can't hold out on the 6 people who read this weblog.
This is my absolutely favorite track of the moment. Written in 1977 by Jean-Marc Cerrone, it's still relevant in today's musical landscape. Tribal drum beats; funky, driving bassline; stabby horns; panning synths; "Gimme Some Lovin'"...you know that's what I'm talking about (if you know what I'm talking about). We in the jungle now, baby!!
Too bad this youtube version excludes the super, driving outro. The full version is 15mins 30secs.
As a side story, my friend who I hadn't seen in many months had found the wax at a flea market for $2, and gave it to me the other day.
You may or may not know him from his Balthazar, Pastis, Schiller's Liquor Bar, Morandi and soon-to-be opening Minetta Tavern ventures, but I thought I'd share this interview of Keith McNally that I just read that was published in the New York Observer (in anticipation of Minetta Tavern opening soon). Some of his responses to the questions are quite humorous, and he gives off an air of down-to-earthedness, especially for someone who was supposedly offered $100M for his restaurant empire.
Location: You’ve established this reputation as a pioneer—a neighborhood-changer—with Odeon in Tribeca, Pastis in meatpacking, Schiller’s on the Lower East Side, to name a few. Conversely, your newest ventures seem to be centered in some rather well-established parts of town. Has all the culinary frontier in downtown Manhattan been gobbled up?
Mr. McNally: I’m neither a pioneer nor a neighborhood-changer. Given that it’s downtown, the space matters more to me than the location. Minetta Tavern, as it happens, is quite a bad location, I think.
Whether the ‘culinary frontier’ has been gobbled up, I don’t know; it doesn’t interest me. What does is the fact that most restaurants opened up by established, affluent restaurateurs are basically boring repeats of something they’ve done in the past. Generally, the creative and interesting places are those cobbled together by people not affluent enough to solve problems with money. The more interesting places, therefore, are generally, but not always, in neighborhoods with very cheap rents.
I had read that the rent on Minetta Tavern was about $50,000 a month. True?
The rent is $15,000 a month. Why on earth did you think it was $50,000?
That was the rumor. I think I read it in The Villager. You mentioned that Minetta Tavern is in a bad location. How so?
Minetta Tavern’s location is on Macdougal between Bleecker and West Third. It’s the Village of the ’50s and ’60s that’s been out of fashion since Dylan went electric. Weekend nights it’s packed with kids from Bensonhurst throwing up on the sidewalk. So, no, it’s not a great location. However, the restaurant itself is so special it more than makes up for it.
What makes that place so special? Modernizing a historic room without sacrificing its old charms is a delicate art. How do you approach it?
Most of what was originally quite special about Minetta Tavern has been preserved: the bar, the mural, the tin ceiling, the caricatures. But there was a lot of junk there, too, and that’s been tossed out. With a place as old and beautiful as Minetta, one has to be careful about not turning it into a museum piece. There’s enough of that with me around.
On the other hand, the menu apparently needed some work. Elsewhere in Manhattan, it seems, Italian has become the new French, the prevailing trend. Yet here, you’re going the opposite direction, changing from Italian to French. Will France rise again?
My chefs at Balthazar, Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson, are my equal partners in Minetta Tavern. French food is their passion and what they’ve cooked all their lives. The food is the best thing about Minetta Tavern. We’ve put a lot more thought into that than the look of the place.
At the corner of Bowery and Houston, meanwhile, it’s about … pizza?
The place I’ve just begun building on the corner of Bowery and Houston will be a pizzeria. One without a twist.
The once down-and-out Bowery is now lined with luxury hotels, trendy boutiques, bank branches, etc. As a noted pioneer, are you disappointed not to be the first guy in?
I wouldn’t claim, as you do, that the Bowery is lined with luxury hotels, etc. But I also wouldn’t claim I’m breaking new ground by being there. My intention was never to be on the Bowery. It was to be on that very specific corner of Houston and Bowery, and for the last four years I’ve been trying to get it. Most of that time the landlord has told me to get lost. And he often used the F-word when saying it. But I like rejection, so I persisted.
What was it about that exact corner that made it so desirable?
I gravitated to that corner because it’s a gritty, ungentrifiable, New York crossroads. I couldn’t care less about being on the Bowery. It was the crossroads I couldn’t keep away from. And, from the get-go, I always imagined a big, busy, inexpensive pizzeria there. I can make it big and inexpensive. It’s the busy I’m worried about.
You also mentioned how the landlord first told you to get lost, then ultimately backed down. Do you suppose this speaks to the larger issue of the economy? I’ve been hearing that landlords who were previously opposed to food uses are now welcoming restaurateurs with open arms. They’ll take whatever they can get.
The landlord only agreed to talk to me when he knew I was connected to Balthazar. For the first three years I didn’t mention it.
What is the timeline of that project?
Unfortunately, I build slowly and expensively—it’ll take a year from now.
Earlier word on the street was that Morandi was going to be your last eatery. Now you have two more in the works. What made you change your mind?
I didn’t plan to open another restaurant after Morandi. But The Times and New York magazine reviews for Morandi were so awful I didn’t want to bow out with a whimper. I’ve already done that with my love life.
Obviously, it’s an interesting time to be opening a new restaurant, as some high-profile places around town are shuttering amid this grim economic situation. Some operators are talking about business being down 30 to 40 percent. How does fine dining survive in this economy? How must restaurateurs adapt?
How do restaurants survive in this economy? Who knows? I don’t. And nor does anyone who says they do. Ultimately, I think one does what one’s always done. In my case, it’s stabbing people in the back and sleeping with my friends’ wives.
You mentioned earlier that the more interesting restaurants tend to be in neighborhoods with really cheap rents. With the economy in ruins and rents actually beginning to recede, does this bode well for the development of new, interesting restaurants?
In theory, lower rents make it easier for those without a fortune to rent a decent space, and of course that’s a very good thing. The drawback is, there’s less money around so the risk is much higher. But, overall, I think a bad economy will bring about more interesting restaurants—although I’m not suggesting mine will be among them.
What has most changed about the New York restaurant business since you first got into the game? Has the real estate component become too much of a factor?
The emergence of blogs and the rabid greediness with which most reviewers now review new places has had a very detrimental effect on restaurants. I put the majority of landlords in the same category because, in their similarly greedy way, they’ve also damaged the restaurant landscape. But the majority of restaurateurs are equally greedy, particularly those who are self-important enough to pay homage to the ludicrous James Beard Awards. In the end, there’s just so much bullshit out there!
Eric Ripert (Le Bernardin) reveals in a candid interview about his relationship with fellow chef Laurent Manrique (Aqua) that they're both techno-music freaks. I wonder how zooted he was when he came out with that lobster milkshake idea.
Giant Step welcomes back Ben Watt for one night only in his first NYC appearance in over a year.
Ben Watt is one half of the multi-million selling duo Everything But The Girl with his wife Tracey Thorn, as well as a DJ of over a decade and a label boss of two independent record imprints called Buzzin' Fly (House and Techno flavours) and Strange Feeling (Alt-Indie). Expect trademark deep house music chased down with modern electro-minimalism from one of the world's leading DJs.
Link to Giant Step event page here. Two month long wait to ride out...hope it goes by fast, really slowly.
The Originals ‘Down To Love Town’ (Dimitri From Paris Edit) – Motown / CDR Soul Searchers ‘Blow Your Whistle’ - Sussex Goody Goody ‘It Looks Like Love’ - Atlantic Shirley Lites ‘Heat You Up’ (Melt Down Mix) – West End Metro Area ‘Dance Reaction’ - Environ Talking Heads ‘Psycho Killer’ (GW Edit) – Disco Deviance / DJ Only Sugardaddy ‘Love Honey’ (GW Version) – Tirk Chic ‘I Want Your Love’ (Todd Terje Edit) – Supreme / DJ Only Q ‘The Voice Of Q’ – Philly World Nitro Deluxe ‘This Brutal House’ – Cutting Atlantic Conveyor ‘We Are’ – Untracked Firefly ‘Love (Is Gonna Be On Your Side)’ – Emergency Kasso ‘Walkman’ – F1 Team Rose Royce ‘Do Your Dance’ – Whitfield Gunchback Boogie Band ‘Funn’ – Prelude Rufus Feat Chaka Khan ‘Ain’t Nobody’ (Frankie Knuckles Mix) – Warner Brothers Happy Mondays ‘WFL (Vince Clarke Mix) - Factory Young Dog Alien ‘Gotta Keep Workin’ It’ (GW Mash-Up) - Reactivate Stevie Wonder ‘Superstition’ (Todd Terje Edit) – Motown / CDR Loose Ends ‘Hangin’ On A String’ (Frankie Knuckles Mix) – Ten Aretha Franklin ‘Rock Steady’ (Danny Krivit Edit) – Rock / DJ Only Gwen Guthrie ‘Seventh Heaven’ (Larry Levan Mix) – Garage The Commodores ‘Machine Gun’ (Situation Edit) – Motown / CDR B.T (Breanda Taylor) ‘You Can’t Have Your Cake And Eat It Too’ (GW Edit) – Tirk West Phillips ‘(I’m Just A) Sucker For A Pretty Face’ – Quality Edit The Edit ‘Two Sides Of Sympanthy’ (PTA Mash-Up / GW Edit) – Edit The Edit / DJ Only Stone Roses ‘Fools Gold’ – Silvertone Banbarra ‘Shack Up’ – United Artists War ‘Me And Baby Brother’ – Island Gino Soccio ‘Try It Out’ – Warner Brothers Geraldine Hunt ‘ Can’t Fake The Feeling’ – Prism Brown ‘ I Specialize In Love’ – Profile Visual ‘The Music Got Me’ – Prelude Incredible Bongo Band ‘Apache’ – MGM Tweet ‘Boogie 2nite’ (Fat Camp Mix) – Elektra / DJ Only Dc La Rue ‘Cathedrals’ (GW Edit) – Disco Deviance / DJ Only Teenage DJ ‘I Was A Teenage DJ Pt 1’ (GW Edit) – Reactivate Sir Joe Quarterman ‘(I Got) So Much Trouble In My Mind’ (Barna Soundmachine Edit) – GSF / DJ Only League Unlimited Orchestra ‘Things That Dreams Are Made Of’ – Virgin TW Funkmasters ‘Love Money’ – Champagne Last Rhythm ‘Last Rhythm’ – American The Clash ‘Casbah Breakdown’ (Joey Negro Edit) – CBS / CDR 808 State ‘Pacific State’ (GW Edit) – ZTT / CDR
Sooooo...I copped a (basically) free ticket to a Nets game (link to free tickets) and luck have it, Rutt's Hut is only 10 minutes away from the Izod Center. Yes!!!
I'm not gonna rehash everything that's been written about these rippers...so check out this NY Times piece on it here. The perceived greatness of this landmark lies in the date that the aforementioned was published. Though written over 10 years ago, I'm assured that I'm going to have the same experience...the smells, the feel, the look, and the food. That's the beauty of institutions like a Rutt's Hut. You know what you're going to get. The place doesn't change with the time. Good will always be good.
I'm seriously going to eat a million of them. It's one of those things where I haven't tried it yet, but I know, without a shadow of a doubt, I'm going to love 'em. Oh, and I've had dogs from Yocco's, Gray's Papaya's, Nathan's, Crif Dog's and others...so I ain't no virgin doghound.
Yes, I'm that excited to scarf down deep fried hot dogs. Thank god the Nets are giving away tickets.
What's not to like about the guy? He's upfront and honest. He knows what's up. He fights the good fight and eats the good shit and shares with the overwhelming majority of people who can only live vicariously though the man's adventures.
Here's an interview that was done the other day. It's not bad and worth the read if you're into this sort of thing.
Anthony Bourdain is the acerbic host of No Reservations on the Travel Channel. His rise to fame can be attributed to Kitchen Confidential, his book exploring the seamy underworld of the restaurant industry. Since then he has written two more books, and has served as a guest judge on Top Chef.
Bourdain chatted with us from his home in New York, having just returned from filming in our neighbor to the north, Baltimore, for his "Rust Belt" episode. We discussed the D.C. episode (which he taped back in July), his plans for the future, the awfulness of a particular TV show, and his advice to Obama.
The Washington D.C. episode of No Reservations will air tonight on the Travel Channel at 10 p.m., with reruns at 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.
When I was preparing questions for this interview, I asked friends for suggestions on what to ask. Most of the responses ranged from "ask him if he'll marry me" to "give him my number" to "I want to have a bromance." But in your Time magazine interview, you said that you were on the shy side.
I think I'm like a lot of chefs with two different kinds of personalities. We develop these sort of Type-A personalities from all these years in the kitchen, but out in the real world, interacting with real people, I can be shy. I'm less comfortable. I think it's no accident that I ended up as a chef, and I think I share a lot of the same kinds of insecurities that a lot of chefs have that gets them in the business. How do you feel about being so idolized?
It's unreal. I kinda don't take it personally. When people say nice stuff about you, it's the same as when they say bad things about you. I don't really feel like they're talking about me. It's nice when people like the show. It's nice when people like the books. But I don't really think people really know me. The threshold for celebrity is so low these days. Those people on The Hills make a f***ing living off it. So I don't think I should be patting myself on the back about anything.
You have a young daughter with whom you probably want to spend more time, and I'm sure it would be easy to sell out on a nice endorsement deal to do so. What motivates you to continue filming more episodes of No Reservations?
Because I can. I'm well aware of the fact that it's the best job in the world. How long will people want to see more? How long will the network be crazy enough to put up money for this venture? I assume I should do it as long as I can get away with it, because it can't last forever. I would feel like an idiot if I walked away from it now. I'm having fun. When it stops being fun, then I'll stop doing it.
What you'll see this year and in the following years is there will be a suspiciously large number of shows in and around Italy. I try very hard to incorporate as many places that are close to the ancestral homelands of my wife's family and my in-laws. I bring my wife and daughter to many family-friendly places. Or places that will be fun for them to hang out while I'm shooting. For every Sri Lanka or Thailand, I try to do one in the south of France.
My friend is a foreign service officer in Vietnam. He told me he bumped into you, and that you were looking for a place in Vietnam.
I think I remember him. I bumped into him outside of a pho joint in Saigon and I mentioned that I was looking for a place. We just finished a show out there about me house hunting in the Hoi An/Danang area. It's close enough to Western hospitals and services, yet it's only five minutes to rice patties and water buffaloes. It's a perfect mix of beach, mountains, country, town, and so many of the things I love about Vietnam. I'll be looking for a place for the next year and a half trying to nail something down. I hope to move my family there for a year.
How do you want living in Vietnam to influence your daughter?
It's always a useful thing for a privileged kid to see very early on how people very different from them live. Her neighbors in Vietnam are going to be people who really work for a living. Chickens and pigs will be running around in the yard. It can be pretty distorting with Daddy on TV. Bottom line: forget about social obligation, i.e. raise a well-adjusted daughter. I just think it'll be fun for her. It's a very child-centric, child-friendly country. They love kids. They indulge them. The food's delicious and healthy. I love the idea of her learning to use chopsticks. She eats a lot of what her mom and dad eat. From looking back on my own childhood, if I had that, it would have been a very cool thing.
What differences do you encounter when planning a show at a domestic versus an international location? How do you scout them out?
There was a basic change in perspective that happened, looking at a place outside of New York with the same approach I give to foreign countries. Very early on, I was a snob about where we went. The Vietnamese could do no wrong, and I tended to look down upon or sneer at Middle America and the South and Southwest. That's changed a lot for me over time. I eventually started cutting people in the States the same slack that I do for people who believe very different things on the other side of the world. But generally what gets us to a place is we get hooked into a visual or film cue.
It helped very much in the case of Baltimore that I'm a total, obsessive fan of The Wire. Being able to access a couple of characters from the show, and having the look of that show in the front of our minds made our camera crew very excited about riffing off the look of that show. It's just a starting point. If there's a film we want to rip off for the cinematography or the music, for instance. Characters or some aspect of the town that I'm interested in or obsessed with, chefs I'm friends with in that area. All of those things are good factors. With D.C., I know Jose Andres is doing very well. I've been there a number of times, and there were certain places that I wanted to get, personal obsessions that I wanted to indulge. That wasn't as hard a show to set up, and a fairly personal one.
In the D.C. episode, you discuss the "other" D.C., the non-political one. You talk with author George Pelecanos about the racial and economic divisions of the city, following a narrative of destruction, renewal and hope for the future. This seems to have some parallels with your New Orleans show. Do you feel like this is a pattern true across a number of urban areas?
The challenge for us from the very first episode is that we vowed that we're going to do a Paris show without going to the Eiffel Tower. If we can do that and keep to a minimum of recognizable landmarks, that is definitely a good thing. And I think George Pelecanos's work was the way in for me in D.C. I like the way he makes D.C. an interesting place to read about. I don't really care about monuments. We're bludgeoned with politics and pundits all day long. We know what happens with that Washington, because if that Washington catches a cold, we all sneeze. The terrain that Pelecanos has been mining in his fiction was very interesting to me. And Jose got me involved with DC Central Kitchen.
The racial problems, the racial divides are very, very similar to what's going on in Baltimore, Detroit, Buffalo, a lot of other towns. I'm not Dan Rather here, but I'd rather show people that side of town than the best restaurant in town. But of course, being friends with Jose, I couldn't resist doing Minibar. If I can get that kind of access to a restaurant or personality, and show people in an informal way what I really like to eat, it's always going to work better as television than somebody I don't know. I generally don't do the best restaurant in town unless I know the chef. And it helps when they're funny as hell.
During your visit with Jose, you mention everyone makes the mistake of getting drunk and making out with a girl with Frito breath.
Yeah I forgot about that. I'm sure it must have happened at some point.
So what is your best drunk story?
Is there anything worse than kinda waking up where all the things you have to apologize for are slowly coming back? The painful wave of micro-memory comes back one after another. I try to avoid that now. I'm doing a pretty good job of avoiding it. I've had to be careful for the last nine years, because if I get drunk on the show it'll end up on the show. Even if it's off-duty. We finish off shooting for the day, but they'll turn the cameras back on if I do something stupid. And now these days everybody's got a cell phone. There's no place you can run and no place you can hide. You're not going to see anything of me popping up on YouTube swinging a shirt over my head or doing belly shots. Those days are long gone. And as a professional drinker, I've done a lot of drinking on camera. I've gotten pretty good at knowing what I'm going to be feeling like in 20 minutes. I learned certain basic things, like if you've been drinking vodka throughout the evening and a fan comes up and says do a tequila shot. That's an important decision-making moment there. No good can come of taking that shot. Back in the day... gaahh... they seemed funny then, but looking back... I'm trying to think of a happy funny moment. They're a lot funnier if they happen to somebody else.
You could rat out one of your crew...
One of our crew passed out with his head in the freezer. We took a picture. That's somewhere on the website I think. It's dangerous to be on the crew. The same rules apply. If you fall down, destroy property, vomit, or in any way embarrass yourself, all the other cameras will swing forcibly around on you. As we say on the show, nothing like a head injury to save a scene.
Would you want to do a country-specific exploration show, like the Spain - On the Road show featuring Chef Mario Batali, cookbook writer Mark Bittman and Gwyneth Paltrow?
I would love to do something with Mario. It's been an unrealized ambition to produce a show for Mario, honestly. He's so smart. The guy knows so much. He's easily the funniest and smartest celebrity chef out there. The Spain show. I'm disappointed. After seeing the Spain show, I see room for improvement. Life is good for Mario, he's got life by the tail. It was probably a lot of fun for him to make that show and not too demanding of his time. But I would very much like to produce a show where he tells us everything he knows about Italy. I think that would be good and informative television. I just don't know if he wants to put in the time commitment given all the businesses he has.
Okay, I'll just say it. I think the Spain show is f***ing awful. Mark Bittman comes off unsympathetic to say the least. Bringing someone who cannot or will not eat jamon [Gwyneth Paltrow] to Spain is a misjudgment. My crew grinds their teeth with rage looking at the crummy production values. Bad camera work, bad sound, bad direction. The whole thing sucks. It's unfortunate. It's mesmerizingly awful.
Does traveling make you appreciate being an American more?
I think traveling HAS made me appreciate America a lot more. Not because the rest of the world is deprived or so awful that we should appreciate what we have in America. To the contrary, I've been having a really great time. A lot of the world has a lot to hold over us in a lot of respects. I think it makes me more appreciative, more open to people, more appreciative of what it's like to live in a place like Detroit. I'm just more tolerant and open-minded about different cultures. Buffalo is a different culture. I look at Buffalo and Buffalonians as a different culture now. Ten years ago, I would have looked at them as those poor guys who live upstate, and I'm lucky enough to live in Manhattan. That's the way I would have seen it 10 years ago. Now I see it as a very distinct personality, a very distinct culture with its own architecture, its own kinda feel. It's, actually, a weirdly wonderful place. Even in winter. I think it took me traveling around the world to get to that point.
The inauguration is tomorrow. Do you have any advice for our soon-to-be president?
I would not presume to advise him on anything. By virtue of being elected, he has made my life as a traveler much much easier. I've felt the impact abroad already. I get congratulated by complete strangers walking up to me in Sri Lanka and Vietnam. It's been a tough eight years to be a traveling American. I don't think people hated Americans, but there was a look that people gave you. Just by virtue of being an American you were like some well-intentioned, but rabid golden retriever. A look of curiosity, disbelief and horror. And this was in England and Australia. I'm particularly proud and happy about our new president. There will be a tangible difference in the way Americans are treated abroad. It just feels better. Above and beyond all the policy.
Any advice about food?
I'll tell you. Alice Waters annoys the living shit out of me. We're all in the middle of a recession, like we're all going to start buying expensive organic food and running to the green market. There's something very Khmer Rouge about Alice Waters that has become unrealistic. I mean I'm not crazy about our obsession with corn or ethanol and all that, but I'm a little uncomfortable with legislating good eating habits. I'm suspicious of orthodoxy, the kind of orthodoxy when it comes to what you put in your mouth. I'm a little reluctant to admit that maybe Americans are too stupid to figure out that the food we're eating is killing us. But I don't know if it's time to send out special squads to close all the McDonald's. My libertarian side is at odds with my revulsion at what we as a country have done to ourselves physically with what we've chosen to eat and our fast food culture. I'm really divided on that issue. It'd be great if he [Obama] served better food at the White House than what I suspect the Bushies were serving. It's gotta be better than Nixon. He liked starting up a roaring fire, turning up the air conditioning, and eating a bowl of cottage cheese with ketchup. Anything above that is a good thing. He's from Chicago, so he knows what good food is.
2009 kicks in for me this weekend with my first gig of the year for Udio at The Gramaphone Club in Shoreditch, London on Friday night, which coincides with the airing of my only just completed in the nick of time Essential Mix on Radio 1, made up of 43 tracks in just under 2 hours. Scheduling details here:
Given that the 5th anniversary of my DJ comeback has only just passed, I decided to take the opportunity to make the mix totally representative of this period, with all the selections being amongst the biggest tracks I’ve played since I made my second debut at Music Is Better in Manchester.
Five years represents a significant package of time, a fixed point from where I can reflect on what’s been a continually snowballing sequence of events, set in motion when Danny Webb asked me to appear in Manchester on that December night back in 2003.
There were less than 100 people there that night, but they were the right people, and I was taken aback by the response to my return, both on the night itself and during subsequent days, when people who were there began to post on the forums. I’d never expected all the feedback be so totally positive!
I’d figured that I’d play that night, using the combination of laptop and reel-to-reel for the first time, then go away and think about what worked and what didn’t before I made my next move. I would never have believed that things could come together so immediately, it was as if I’d hit a completely unexpected hole in one, especially when two of the people who were there, Ralph Lawson, DJ from Back To Basics in Leeds, and one of my fellow DJ’s that night, Richard Hardcastle (Solid State) from Society in Sheffield, both asked me to play at their nights no sooner had I finished my spot.
One thing kept leading to another and, in Sheffield, I was approached by Tony Daly to play at the now legendary Tyneside Cinema party in Newcastle, a bespoke event where he took on the substantial risk of presenting me in a city I’d never DJ’d in previously (unless you count the 1983 TV appearance on The Tube, which was filmed in the Tyne Tees studio). Then, of course, there was London, where Steve Kotey and Bill Brewster booked me for their parties, bringing me to the capital within the first few months of my return for Ouch and Low Life.
The bookings kept coming, and I found myself driving up and down the country on an increasingly regular basis. Later in 2004 I was approached by Sav Remzi, from Tirk / Nuphonic, with the idea of putting together an edits album, which would be issued the following year as ‘Credit To The Edit’. This would help bring my name to the attention of people outside the UK. There was soon a need to step things up further, now that I was receiving enquiries from Europe, and so began a fruitful relationship with my agent, Matt Johnson (Matty J), who’s done a wonderful job of representing me during recent years.
The last few months have been, to say the least, manic for me, with 25 flights, including 6 long haul, taking me to gigs in the US, Japan, Australia, Brazil and Europe. From a personal perspective I still find it remarkable the way everything has developed, pretty much organically, since I made the decision that I was going to be a DJ once again – had I concocted some sort of comeback masterplan, it could never have worked out anything like as well as it has. It’s definitely been a case of ‘from small acorns’.
It still never ceases to amaze me that people from another continent are interested in my DJ past. Back in the early 80’s, before I went into retirement for 20 years, the furthest I travelled (with the exception of the appearances I made in the South of England as part of The Hacienda Review in late ’83) was to places like Birmingham and Nottingham, when I played at All-Dayers, so to find myself in clubs on the other side of the world is pretty nuts!
Anyhow, I’d like to wish everyone all the best for 09. Big thanks to all the promoters who booked me and everyone who danced to the tunes I played during ’08 in Adelaide, Barcelona, Belfast, Berlin, Birmingham, Blackburn, Brighton, Bristol, Dublin, Dundee, Edinburgh, Fukuoka, Glasgow, Hamburg, Leeds, Lisbon, Liverpool, London, Los Angeles, Manchester, Melbourne, Milan, New York, Newcastle, Nottingham, Paris, Porto Alegre, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Sheffield, Sydney, Tokyo and Warsaw. Also the festivals and special events that I appeared at - Bestival (Isle Of Wight), Big Chill (England), Camp Bestival (England), Garden Festival (Croatia), Ibiza, Lovebox (England), Notting Hill Carnival (England), Rockness Festival (Scotland), Sonar (Spain) and the Southport Weekender (England).
I completely forgot that I had watched Hamlet 2 last Friday until about 10 minutes ago. What I do remember is that I loved it and think it's one of the greatest movies ever made. Obviously I'm using hyperbole...but what's really funny about it is that during the course of a conversation I was having with a friend, somehow the idea of a sequel to Hamlet came up (I come up with lots of crazy and awesome ideas) and my friend goes, "Wait, I have it". I had no idea there was a titled Hamlet 2 with Coogan in it.
January 11, 2009 World’s first flying car prepares for take-off
Is it a car? Is it a plane? Actually it’s both. The first flying automobile, equally at home in the sky or on the road, is scheduled to take to the air next month.
If it survives its first test flight, the Terrafugia Transition, which can transform itself from a two-seater road car to a plane in 15 seconds, is expected to land in showrooms in about 18 months’ time.
Its manufacturer says it is easy to keep and run since it uses normal unleaded fuel and will fit into a garage.
Carl Dietrich, who runs the Massachusetts-based Terrafugia, said: “This is the first really integrated design where the wings fold up automatically and all the parts are in one vehicle.”
The Transition, developed by former Nasa engineers, is powered by the same 100bhp engine on the ground and in the air.
Terrafugia claims it will be able to fly up to 500 miles on a single tank of petrol at a cruising speed of 115mph. Up to now, however, it has been tested only on roads at up to 90mph.
Dietrich said he had already received 40 orders, despite an expected retail price of $200,000 (£132,000).
“For an airplane that’s very reasonable, but for a car that’s very much at the high end,” he conceded.
There are still one or two drawbacks. Getting insurance may be a little tricky and finding somewhere to take off may not be straightforward: the only place in the US in which it is legal to take off from a road is Alaska.
Dietrich is optimistic. He said: “In the long term we have the potential to make air travel practical for individuals at a price that would meet or beat driving, with huge time savings.”
Seeing the brash Southerners who forged Memphis soul music at Stax Records must have been a startling experience for audiences on the 1967 Stax/Volt Revue tour of Europe.
Dapper and raw, hard-working and audacious, rooted in gospel while exulting in sensuality, Stax stars like Otis Redding and Sam & Dave were song-and-dance men who knew how to bring audiences to their feet. Their band — Booker T. and the M.G.’s plus the Mar-Keys as the horn section — was racially integrated and musically unstoppable.
The black-and-white concert footage of “Sweet Soul Music: Stax Live in Europe 1967,” to be shown Monday at 8 p.m. on WLIW (Channel 21) and nationwide on PBS in March, is a chance to see Stax’s soul men at their youthful peak; Redding would die in a plane crash later in 1967. The concert also shows African-American culture raising a ruckus on staid foreign turf.
Stax Records did not choose timid singers. The tour lineup was all belters — Redding, Sam & Dave, Eddie Floyd and Arthur Conley — who bounced percussive phrases off the band’s unswerving beat. They were R&B troupers from an era when performers didn’t need to lip-sync when they danced. The Stax singers commanded the stage with moves no choreographer taught them, and they didn’t rest until their audience became an ecstatic congregation.
The revue was videotaped for television on April 7, 1967, in Oslo. (The PBS special is a shorter version of a DVD, “Stax/Volt Revue: Live in Norway 1967,” which is available from the Stax Museum in Memphis, staxmuseum.org.) The Norwegian audience, which gets generous camera time throughout, looks earnestly appreciative as Booker T. and the M.G.’s steam into “Green Onions,” with Steve Cropper flicking out vicious jabs of blues guitar. When the singers take over, they don’t settle for head-bobbing and hand-clapping as a response. One after another, they knock themselves out. Just about every song ratchets itself up, drops back down and then pushes toward a double-time gospelly surge over the top.
Mr. Conley praises fellow soul singers in “Sweet Soul Music,” twitching and hopping across the stage, insisting that the audience call out names like James Brown. Mr. Floyd, moving with a backwards, gliding step that looks oddly balletic, revs up the crowd during “Raise a Hand” until it swarms toward the stage, to be restrained by uniformed security guards. Mr. Floyd calls the men in uniform “soldiers on the front line” before inviting them to join in.
But they are only warm-ups for Sam & Dave and for Redding. Sam & Dave, flaunting the contrast and blend between Sam Moore’s pearly tenor and Dave Prater’s rugged baritone, volley vocal lines while they shimmy, twirl and strut all over the place. One well-chosen camera shot, amid the otherwise workmanlike direction of the old TV footage, shows the duo’s dancing feet alongside the synchronized steps of the Mar-Keys. During “Soothe Me,” even the TV crew succumbs to the frenzy; the camera starts swooping in and out, as if Sam & Dave were singing “Zoom Me.”
Redding would “slosh through puddles of Sam & Dave’s sweat to get out to the stage,” says the trumpeter Wayne Jackson in an on-screen interview, “and then he would add a gallon of his own sweat to the lake.” Redding arrives with a huge smile to sing about sorrow in “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song).” He sounds plaintive and then exultant in “My Girl,” accelerates into overdrive for “Shake,” matches Al Jackson’s rat-a-tat drumming with stamping footwork in “Satisfaction” and carries “Try a Little Tenderness” from bluesy concern to soul catharsis.
To the bewilderment of the M.C., Redding struts offstage and returns again and again and again, barking out the chorus while the band slams away and the crowd seizes the chance to rush the stage. Moments later the show is over, and the Norwegian audience decorously files out — wondering, perhaps, what had just hit it.