Greenpeace’s ‘Join The Rebellion’ campaign

Remember the VW ad featuring a kid dressed as Darth Vader trying to use the Force to move things I posted a while back? Now there’s a follow up…[quicktime width=”636″ height=”400″]http://www.djfood.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/GreenpeaceNordic-Video-Player.mp4[/quicktime]

As you can see at the end, it’s not VW behind this sequel, but Greenpeace, in what has to be one of the most interesting campaigns in recent years. Taking off where VW left they’ve taken the side of the Rebellion and created a whole website devoted to getting VW to change their stance on CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency standards.

They’ve also set up an ingenious way to get people to spread their message through signing up and going through ‘Jedi Training’ to gain points to unlock further levels by referring others to the page. Each click earns you a point and each person who signs up because of it earns you 5 points.

One question begs asking though: Is there anyone who George Lucas WON’T license his franchise out to?

 

 

Posted in Film, Star Wars. | 1 Comment » |

The Thief and the Cobbler by Richard Williams

This entry was originally posted 28th October 2008 on my old Myspace blog, before this site existed.

ThiefTitleslightblur

I have been obsessed with this film since I saw a couple of clips in a documentary called ‘I Drew Roger Rabbit’ back in the late 80’s. It is / was the life’s work of the legendary Richard Williams, who most people will know for his animation on Roger Rabbit. For those that don’t know of it, it’s no big surprise, it’s history is long, complicated and it is still unfinished in the form it’s creator intended. There is an DVD in existence but this is a pale shadow of it’s intended groundbreaking form which Williams has disowned.

Nasrudin

A short history of the production: it was begun in the sixties and loosely based on both Aladdin and the Sufi stories of the character Mulla Nasrudin, some of which Williams illustrated in early editions. It was his intention that it would compare to the early Disney greats and feature some of the most jaw dropping animated sequences ever made, all hand drawn, no computer imagery involved. And it does, from the footage I’ve seen, it delivers several scenes of breathtaking brilliance that have to be watched repeatedly just to pick up just how much detail is in them.

three012

Williams worked in advertising primarily and headed one of the leading animation studios in the UK. He was responsible for lots of adverts you would have seen as a child (if you live in the UK) such as Frosties’ Tony The Tiger, the Listerine Dragon or the Pink Panther selling TDK video cassettes. But all the while he was churning out work that paid the rent he was chipping away at his big project. He used actors such as Vincent Price, Anthony Quayle, Sean Connery and Kenneth Williams, constantly revisiting them over the years to re-voice parts as the story changed. By the time Roger Rabbit hit he was an industry legend and finally the larger public also knew his name – it was time to seize the moment and finish his masterpiece. A deal with Warner Brothers meant he worked full time on it for a number of years but financial troubles and missed deadlines bought bankruptcy and the film was taken from him.

Warners finished the film without him, cut it to bits, added and deleted characters and released it as ‘The Princess & The Cobbler’, a thoroughly bastardised version of the original and miles away from Williams’ original vision. The film was later recut again and released as ‘Arabian Knight’ for the US market which ended up wrecking it even further. Even the release of a DVD was so poor it garnered an award for the worst standard edition DVD of 2006. Williams wasn’t involved with any of these versions, having disowned the project when it fell out of his control.

P&T_King_and_zigzag

All was not lost though, with the internet, and like anything that promised so much but fell at the last hurdle, (think Brian Wilson’s ‘Smile’ LP) the cult of the Cobbler has grown over the years. Starting in 2004, a fan and industry insider, Garrett Gilchrist, collected all the best sources he could find, including a copy of an original workprint of the almost finished film. He then assembled a ‘Recobbled Cut’ of the film as Williams would have had it and made it available on the web. When I found this I couldn’t believe it even existed, this was too good to be true, a film I never thought I’d see and now someone had gone to the trouble to assemble all the finished parts into a semi-coherent form.

But there was more, a new blog was started last year simply called The Thief by some of the original animators and staff on the project. They post anecdotes, line tests and technical details behind various scenes along with with in-house memorabilia and countless other things privy only to those involved in such a production. This is also one of the reasons I’m writing this blog now, they have recently initiated a poll in an attempt to drum up an official DVD release of the surviving parts of Williams’ version. Finishing the actual film seems out of the question (Williams rarely wishes to discuss it) but there is a wealth of material finished that ranks amongst some of the best animation ever produced. Various restoration projects have been started over the years and here is another attempt to set the wheels in motion to give it some form of dignified release to the public.

zigzag00all

This film is a legend in animation circles and it slowly seems to be coming to light via the web (it already has a lengthy Wikipedia entry). I urge you to check out Garrett’s website for more info on a copy and see it, marvel at it’s contents and then tell someone else. Maybe check out the Thief blog for more of the background behind it or add your vote to the poll to have a DVD released by the studio that holds the footage. Whatever you do, try and make time to see it in some way as it is a superhuman feat in a medium that has become dominated by computers – they simply don’t make them like this anymore.

Posted in Art, Film. | 1 Comment » |

The Death of Output

DoO1-3 coverL3output logo webBack at the end of 2006, when Trevor Jackson‘s Output Recordings folded, I put together a 3 hour tribute mix of my favourite tracks. This went out as 3 separate mixes on Solid Steel and I even made a very limited number of facsimile Output CDRs of the mixes. I’ve recently had requests to upload it again so, by the miracle that is Soundcloud, it’s available. I’ve also edited it into one piece finally and the track list is embedded in the Lyrics section of the mp3. Being an avid collector of the label I thought I’d show off the screen printed promo releases and a few other choice pieces.

Further reading from early 2007 can be had on Mark E’s ‘ireallylovemusic’ site.

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The Death of Output by DJ Food

[singlepic id=2609 w=640 h=890 float=left] [singlepic id=2620 w=640 h=480 float=left]

3D comics

Biz 3D ZoneFurther to the post about 3D I did last week, I’ve dug out some of the comics I was talking about. Best find was ‘Bizarre 3D Zone’ which is almost Zap Comix in 3D form, including a strip by Robert Williams which works extremely well visually. There were a few underground comics in the the 60’s and 70’s using 3D it seems but not all of them work because the printing is so bad the red/green division can’t be seen too easily.

A company called Blackthorne Publishing spearheaded the 3D comics surge in the late 80’s, buying up licenses to lots of kids shows like Transformers, GI Joe and Star Wars. Their most successful line was, bizarrely, the California Raisins (!?) but they bit off more than the could chew when they acquired the rights to print Michael Jackson’s ‘Moonwalker’ in 3D. The film didn’t do the business expected and their comic flopped, costing them the company. Most of their titles only ran for 1 or 2 issues and the projected Star Wars line (surely a golden ticket?) only made it to issue 3 before the company folded.

In Bizarre 3D Zone there are a few singular page strips that crop up that are quite bizarre indeed, some don’t even work in the conventional 3D way as they are simply only either the green or red. But in amongst the other separated images they give an odd effect and you realise that this is the ultimate in psychedelic comics as it’s playing with your perceptions of the page. I can only imagine what it was doing to hippies on acid way back when.
Zone 3Robt WilliamsZone 6

Olly Moss

Olly-Moss-Thorrr3
Further to the Star Wars fan posters post earlier I felt I should dedicate a post to Olly Moss’s work. He has such a simple angle on things, great colour sense and a clean, unfussy presentation. Able to merge different genre styles and bring a touch of the classics to everyday pop culture. For examples see his Penguin Classic book covers illustrating video games or his film poster updates via his site (click on Design > Rolling Roadshow or Videogame classics).

Posted in Art, Design, Film. | No Comments » |

DJ Shadow Handmade

Most of you will have heard, or at least heard about, the two new DJ Shadow tracks that officially came to light last week via his site, after being out and about, ripped from radio broadcasts for a bit. ‘Def Surrounds Us / I’ve Been Trying’ caused a stir last week which is no mean feat in this day and age from an artist who is approaching 20 years of official releases. In the digital age these things are easy to come by, not so easy is an actual hard copy, pressed onto vinyl, dark blue vinyl to be exact, with a unique handrawn front cover no less.

But they do exist and Shadow has been giving them away to DJs and fans via his site and posts on Twitter. There are rumoured to be only 100 copies at the moment, each with its own unique sleeve design and stamp bearing the legend ‘Handmade, because you’re worth it’ on the back. I was lucky enough to receive a copy earlier this week after a heads up from Joost over at the Sole Sides board and people have begun adding images of their copies to Discogs on the release’s entry page. Here’s mine but I have several other ‘handmade’ Shadow records I’ve collected over the years that I thought I’d share with you.

Def Surrounds UsHandmade stamp

This is my copy of the ‘Enuff (DJ Fresh remix)/This Time’ single, this was a regular white label copy that I’m pretty sure I customised with a sticker from elsewhere. There are 100 copies of a fully sprayed and stencilled Paul Insect version that were sold through DJ Shadow.com but alas I don’t have one of those.

This TimeEnuff label

In Tokyo a few years ago I stumbled across a pile of these in the Shibuya HMV, supposedly a limited edition for Japan with hand silk screened covers and an extended version of ‘Roy’s Theme’ from the KeepinTime compilation.

Roys ThemeRoys detailRoys theme detail 2Roys theme detail 3

Going even further back we have the ‘Monosyllabik’ promo 12″ that was sneaked out before the Private Press hit, confounding everyone. So much so that I found one in the local exchange for £1, some DJs obviously weren’t too hip to what it was or didn’t care and passed it on. I have three different copies of this: one I was sent as a promo, the other I found in the exchange and the third was from eBay. This is the best of the three, including as it does, all 10 stickers on the front (there were said to be 10 different sleeves designs out there at the time).

Mono 1Mono 2Mono 3

… and last but not least, my very own creation, one of five handmade (and mixed) CDRs of the ‘Press Cuttings’ sampler mix I made of selections from the Private Press in 2002. This aired on Solid Steel and I gave Shadow a copy after a gig which he was then kind enough to add to his official discography later. Each disc has a different image on it and the covers are all made up of graphics from old private press record booth sleeves. Hear it at the bottom of the page.
Press cuttingsPress cuttings backPress cuttings disc

Press Cuttings (The Private Press Compacted) by DJ Food

PS: a section of a Quietus interview with Shadow about the making of the Def Surrounds Us sleeve artwork:

“On the 12”s, all of the sleeves are one-offs. When it was conceived, it was the purest way I could think of to let the music out of my hands and into the chance environment of society… in the most pure and unfucked with way. It wasn’t coming from the label, it wasn’t coming laoded with information. And if I’d had my way originally, it wouldn’t even have had my name on it. It would have been totally anonymous… It would have just let time and people’s own research and ideas determine what it was. I guess in a certain sense cooler heads prevailed and it has come out as a compromise where when you first look at it you’re not going to know what it is or who it is by. But for people like you and me who look at records every day you’re just going to stop and go: “What the fuck is this?” Because it’s removing the art from its proper context. In most cases I would have my kids doodle something and then when they got bored with it I would add my own hyper detail to it. I’m not a great illustrator but I like to draw and my dad was a graphic designer. I like spending a lot of time on pointillism and detail. It doesn’t really matter what the image really is and in fact I try and keep myself from representing anything. In some of them I’ve even added a little note that says, “Please add to the artwork before you pass it along.” We’ve added stickers on some. I like the idea that the art is never quite finished. It was inspired by a lot of other covers that I’ve seen. Obviously this kind of thing has been done before in the DIY scene and the minimal synth scene of the early 80s, so I’m not claiming to have invented the process but I intended it as the most honest and pure delivery mechanism that I could think of. “

Posted in Art, Music, Records. | 11 Comments » |

Process: The working practices of Barney Bubbles

So, Nigel Peake is in town, fresh from painting a mural and we’re wandering around Pimlico like a couple of tourists. Clutching an A-Z and an iPhone, we’re trying to find the Chelsea Space which is currently hosting the Barney Bubbles exhibition, Process.

Bubbles, born Colin Fulcher, sadly committed suicide in 1983 and has long been an unsung hero of British sleeve design but this has started to change in recent years after Paul Gorman’s book on his work, ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful’, was published in 2008. Quickly selling out and starting to command high prices on the web it’s now been updated and expanded in a new edition.

Possibly one of the reasons Bubbles isn’t as widely know as, say, Neville Brody, Malcolm,Garrett, Hipgnosis, Peter Saville or Jamie Reid is because his work spanned both both ends of the seventies and beyond – the hippy / prog / rock and the punk eras –  and never conceded to one house style for anyone. The two things he’s probably most known for – Hawkwind and Stiff Records – couldn’t be much further apart. Looking at one of his Hawkwind sleeves and then an Elvis Costello or Ian Dury from later you’d be hard-pressed to see any sort of stylistic link, yet he did them both.

After walking up and down the street way too many times, asking in the Tate to a bemused attendant and eventually finding the space via a round-the-houses route through the College of Art we realise we’d walked right past it. Failing to notice the sign outside the inconspicuous door set back from the main road, we should have stopped yakking and paid a bit more attention.

Anyway, once inside we were greeted by walls pasted with vintage music paper ads and posters of late 70’s vintage, a couple of old record players sporting various vinyl rarities, badges, stickers and a gorgeous rack of Ian Dury ‘Do It Yourself’ wallpaper-sleeved LPs. Right in, no messing about. Along the bottom of one wall were various publications all sporting BB covers including a John Cooper-Clark ‘Directory 1979’ an issue of the NME, Nova magazine and a Hawkwind programme.

A long, thin, tall corridor then stretches up before turning into the main exhibition room and one wall is covered with posters and record sleeves, the Hawkwind ones unfolded flat to show off their wares. Frustratingly the sharp viewing angle meant that the higher pieces were hard to see properly, further compounded by spot lighting which caused glare on anything in a PVC protective sleeve.

Into the main room, past a giant hanging Chuck Berry sculpture and here’s the good stuff. Cases of artifacts, portraits, sketchbooks, paintings, paste ups, reference books, even materials like Rotring pens he left behind. One wall is covered in original art paste up sheets, tracing paper with notes covering some of them, all hung with big bulldog clips which is a nice touch throughout. Another wall is full of beautifully presented black and white art, logos, layouts – a mixture of paint, pen, Letraset and whiteout – all of which would have blended into one under the camera later.

It must have been a difficult task for the curators to hang the work because it was so random, finding obvious themes and connections is almost impossible with Bubbles because each piece is so different from the next. Sure he has various tricks and techniques that he employs, his mixture of abstract and 3D shapes to make words for instance, but it’s as if he was always starting from scratch with each new piece. His foldout sleeves for Hawkwind and Elvis Costello are placed behind perspex but even they jut out at points, unable to be contained in such a space.

I’m no expert on Bubbles but this looks like a goldmine of his work for anyone remotely interested in him or the groups he designed for. Also this is a great reminder of how things were done decades ago, pre-digital, everything is hand drawn, painted, cut and pasted and it’s beautiful to see, especially all the whited out parts. Although by no means a complete overview – several pieces are conspicuous by their absence – the curators intend this to be more of a stepping stone to bigger things later and the new edition of the book should help this.

The exhibition is on now until October 23rd at Chelsea Space,

16 John Islip Street,

London, Sw1P 4JU
More details here

and visit Paul Gorman’s excellent blog on all things Barney Bubbles

and a good, quick overview of his work at feuilleton

RIP Talcy Malcy

A sad loss, one of a kind for sure, the Sex Pistols – whatever. For me it was all about the Duck Rock LP. I wrote this for Wax Poetics #19 back in 2006 for my top ten all time greatest cut and paste records:

Malcolm McLaren “Duck Rock” (Charisma) 1983

More a collage of cultures than literal cut and paste—this is generally considered to be the record that brought hip-hop to the U.K. The rulebook was still being written and McLaren stuck his head in the door, staged a smash and grab and headed off to Africa via Cuba, Columbia and Tennessee with the words “Zulu Nation” ringing in his ears. He got pretty lucky with his big steal too—breaking by the Rock Steady Crew, art by Keith Haring and Dondi White, vocals by the Ebonettes, all dressed up back in London by Vivienne Westwood. Luckiest of all he got Trevor Horn to put it all together before he rocketed to super producer status with Yes, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Grace Jones. After liberally sampling everything, McLaren left it to Horn and his team to work out which way up the map went before returning to take all the credit.

This is McLaren’s strength, he’s a great A&R man and he was in several right places at the same time. He’s not an artist (Horn described working with him as like “knitting with fog”) he’s an ideas man and a publicist, this time with himself as the star. It always seemed a little weird to me at the time to see McLaren fronting this lot with his ginger curls and pasty complexion, he couldn’t have been further removed from the players and performers surrounding him. The whole thing had the air of someone’s dad trying to be ‘down with the kids’ because everyone knew of his past dealings in the Punk and New Romantic scenes. Even back then people were asking what bandwagon Malcolm was jumping on this time.

This is a record much like “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts”, one that exists in it’s own bubble; white, middle class Brits trying to adapt black traditional and homemade culture into pop music, of sorts, just don’t call it ‘World Music’. What they came up with is a gigantic, mutant version of the reality they sampled, rearing it’s head up into the charts, that could only exist for a very short while before all it’s constituent parts crashed to the ground and scuttled off in their own directions. This is more than a super group combining their talents, more like a super nation all finding themselves at the same party and staying just long enough to make something unique and never to be repeated.

McLaren 650

Posted in Event, Music, Oddities. | No Comments » |

RIP Talcy Malcy

A sad loss, one of a kind for sure, the Sex Pistols – whatever. For me it was all about the Duck Rock LP. I wrote this for Wax Poetics #19 back in 2006 for my top ten all time greatest cut and paste records:

Malcolm McLaren “Duck Rock” (Charisma) 1983

More a collage of cultures than literal cut and paste—this is generally considered to be the record that brought hip-hop to the U.K. The rulebook was still being written and McLaren stuck his head in the door, staged a smash and grab and headed off to Africa via Cuba, Columbia and Tennessee with the words “Zulu Nation” ringing in his ears. He got pretty lucky with his big steal too—breaking by the Rock Steady Crew, art by Keith Haring and Dondi White, vocals by the Ebonettes, all dressed up back in London by Vivienne Westwood. Luckiest of all he got Trevor Horn to put it all together before he rocketed to super producer status with Yes, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Grace Jones. After liberally sampling everything, McLaren left it to Horn and his team to work out which way up the map went before returning to take all the credit.

This is McLaren’s strength, he’s a great A&R man and he was in several right places at the same time. He’s not an artist (Horn described working with him as like “knitting with fog”) he’s an ideas man and a publicist, this time with himself as the star. It always seemed a little weird to me at the time to see McLaren fronting this lot with his ginger curls and pasty complexion, he couldn’t have been further removed from the players and performers surrounding him. The whole thing had the air of someone’s dad trying to be ‘down with the kids’ because everyone knew of his past dealings in the Punk and New Romantic scenes. Even back then people were asking what bandwagon Malcolm was jumping on this time.

This is a record much like “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts”, one that exists in it’s own bubble; white, middle class Brits trying to adapt black traditional and homemade culture into pop music, of sorts, just don’t call it ‘World Music’. What they came up with is a gigantic, mutant version of the reality they sampled, rearing it’s head up into the charts, that could only exist for a very short while before all it’s constituent parts crashed to the ground and scuttled off in their own directions. This is more than a super group combining their talents, more like a super nation all finding themselves at the same party and staying just long enough to make something unique and never to be repeated.

McLaren 650

Posted in Event, Music, Oddities. | No Comments » |

The Shape of Things That Hum EP Soundcloud Promo

Here are 3 tracks from my next EP, streamable via Soundcloud – there 5 tracks in all with a further 3 remixes on the download. Sentinel is a collaboration with DK and GIANT is a cover of The The without the vocal which will be added to a remixed version on the album. If you want to buy it and click the link it will take you to iTunes but the EP isn’t out until Dec 14th now so you’ll have a bit of a wait…
DJ Food – ‘The Shape of Things That Hum’ (Promo) by Ninja Tune

In An English Country Garden

sgp-2

Arriving at the Secret Garden Party festival is akin to having the air you breath spiked with LSD. I know people dress up for festivals but you’re in the minority if you dress normally at this one and you can forget fairy wings or silly jester hats, this is the really deal. I saw devils with triple jointed legs, cows, bananas, clowns, Fagin children and an all-black stormtrooper. Facepaint and wellies were almost de rigueur as were corsetry, stockings, false eyelashes and thongs – and that applies to both male and female. I saw one well proportioned lady in her late forties in a green dress, boobs out save for two well positioned leaves on the nipples, later on a band played a high speed acoustic set whilst suspended from branches of a tree and a guy dressed as an aristocrat rapper at high speed over 30’s music mixed with drum n bass. If the Secret Garden Party is anything it’s a freak magnet.

Its location is reputedly the back garden of some lord’s estate and what a garden he has. The main focus is a small lake on which the site centers but around this are all sorts of hills, dales and wooded areas, some connected by bridges over streams, that make it a trip to explore. It took me nearly 40 minutes to even find the tent DK and I were playing in as I was pointed in 3 different directions by various security staff or voluntary workers who didn’t have site maps or even a basic knowledge of how to use the radio they had been provided. It quickly became apparent that few people had any idea of what was going on after a bizarre encounter in the car park with an elderly ‘warden’ who couldn’t even remember the name of our tent 5 seconds after we’d told her let alone summon anyone on her radio to give directions. It didn’t help that the Remix vs Ninja Tune tent we were sharing with Eddy Temple-Morris and guests was only signposted as ‘BAR’ – something we tried in vain to rectify with little success all day.

sgp-1

To further compound matters, DK and I had been booked separately and had our individual technical riders supplied rather than our combined set up (4 decks, rather than 2) so they only had two turntables in the tent – and no video screens…  I’m not sure how we were supposed to do a video set without video screens and it turns out we were on when it was still light so that went out the window pretty sharpish. But this is festivals – you have to be adaptable. Anyone who has ever played one will know this, bands run late, or end early, or get squeezed on to the bill, or don’t even turn up. Equipment doesn’t work, or there’s the wrong equipment, or there’s no equipment at all. Somehow the great staff behind the scenes all make it work but it’s never straightforward, everyone needs something different and no one has probably looked at the technical rider until an hour before you arrive. Here’s a top tip for all DJs playing at festivals or in any kind of situation involving DJs, performers and live bands simultaneously – make friends with the sound engineer as soon as you arrive. He is the one person who can and will make you sound good and he is the most important person to you next to the lighting / VJ person, more important than the promoter, the hospitality or the person who will ultimately pay you. He (and it is nearly always a he) will save your neck if something goes wrong and it invariably will.

For some reason the running times as the Secret Garden were back to back which means they had allowed no down time between sets for any technical changeover. This is a little difficult to do when one artist is using an Allen & Heath mixer with CDJs only to be followed by another using Ableton, an MPC and assorted effects to then be followed by another using 4 decks, 2 mixers and so on. To perfect a seamless changeover you ideally need two tables in this situation, one that is being used and one off to the side to set up the next artist on that can then be wheeled on and plugged in in seconds rather than minutes. The SGP did not have this so we set up on the side of the main table whilst the band before played (was it Evil 9? I’m ashamed that I didn’t know). Trying my best not to disturb them as well as not unplug anything from the tangle of wires that had formed behind the mixer I managed to plug in one deck and a mixer to lead off after their set so as not to lose the considerable crowd they’d acquired. Whilst they packed down and made way for DK to set up I played some bass heavy dubstep before he took over and I could reposition my set up alongside him rather than play in profile to the crowd.

After this we were off, having just over an hour to do our thing so we flung everything we could into the mix and it was rocking. Another thing about playing at festivals – the change-over – be respectful of the artist you are changing over from. They are having their moment, it’s not all about you, give them a nice amount of space when they finish, don’t steam in with your set, let them get some applause (even applaud yourself maybe). Don’t knock their equipment whilst they’re playing as the guy after us did as we were playing some full on drum n bass, sending the needle jumping rudely to the end of the track from full flow. Luckily I was mixing in the next track and it carried the groove on and dropped back in nicely. Lastly always thank the sound man before you leave and the lighting guy if you can find him or her as their work goes largely unacknowledged and they make it all work ultimately.

I wouldn’t say the Secret Garden Party was unorganised but it was a little ramshackle, which, I suppose, is probably part of it’s charm too. It’s definitely a festival that is probably a hell of a trip if you’re inebriated too and, being sober the whole time, it took a while to aclimatise. It’s a shame we couldn’t stop for the King Cannibal silent disco, the lasers on the floating castle in the middle of the lake and Hexstatic without video screens but we had to hit the road. DK had bought his family and it was well past DK junior’s bedtime so we sped off and arrived back at Knott’s Landing just after midnight. In case you didn’t know (well, more for your information), staying at DK’s residence is second only to a night in a 5 star hotel. You get your own bedroom, bathroom, free wi-fi, homemade bread and a choice of fine wines and cheeses for breakfast whilst basking in the glory of their kitchen extension. This 8th Wonder of Marlow is a 180 degree glass wall that opens out onto the exquisitely manicured garden complete with water feature, colour co-ordinated wall and fauna that wouldn’t seem out of place in an episode of Grand Designs. In the words of Kevin McCloud, “IT’S A TRIUMPH!”.

truck-hospitalityWe spent some of the day working on a track for my next record before setting off for the Truck festival near Oxford, so called because the original stage was the back of a truck many years ago. They’ve progressed beyond that now although the backstage catering left a bit to be desired and it was a very different bill to the SGP. This was more indie, rock and folk orientated with a larger age range and a high count of people who brought their own seats to watch the bands on the main stage. Almost as soon as we arrived we bumped into Vez, ex-Ninja press legend from way back and informed her that there had been a request for a centrefold pull-out of her in the Ninja Tune book being published next year much to her amusement.

The Truck fest is a little more organised than than SGP in that they had a video screen and allotted a 10 minute turnaround time for us to set up after the band before us! It turned out the it took ten minutes for the band to pack down before we could even get the table onstage, then a further 5 minutes to set the table up. At 8.25pm we were ready and we rocked it in the Barn, even if I say so myself.

truck-fest1

Everyone was very eager and helpful and I think we took them a little by surprise with the drum n bass at the end but we had a great time and were back at chez DK before midnight due to him living about an hour away. Not bad for a weekend; two UK festivals, loads of socialising and a track for my next EP nearly finished – I’m writing this on the way back to London where I’m spending Sunday with the family, then it’s more work on the EP before France for three days at the end of the week.

P.S.
I arrived home to a nice package from Jim Thirlwell – a new Foetus compilation called ‘Limb’, of old audio experiments from 80-83 coupled with a DVD documentary about his career as well as his music to the cartoon The Venture brothers. This guy is a genius and it seems the world is finally taking notice after nearly 30 years.

foetus-limbventure-bros-lp-copy

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