Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bugged Out 20th Birthday

Carling British Cider is the official Cider of the Warehouse Project this season. The award winning Cider view the Warehouse Project as being at the cutting edge of clubbing and electronic music. Regarded as the 'spiritual home' by both fans and organisers - tickets to the return to Store Street have been like gold dust. It's refreshing then, that Carling are offering fans the chance of winning two guestlist places to every night at the iconic venue. I was announced as one of the winners, here's what happened when I travelled to Manchester ―

Located underneath Manchester's Piccadilly Station, the one-time air raid shelter was home to the Warehouse Project for five years before moving to Victoria Warehouse. This season the venue opens its doors for a one-year residency and I was excited to be returning thanks to Carling British Cider. Bugged Out! were the host returning to the Warehouse Project to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Arriving at Store Street, we made our way inside and after fighting through the crowd we ordered some Cider. After having a few drinks, I noticed that the tempo had gone up a level and displaying a blatant disregard to his set time; Erol Alkan played a 10pm like it was a close. Generating a huge response with Andre Bratten 'Trommer Og Bass' and Josh Wink 'Talking To You', before finishing with his closing track 'A Hold On Love / Only Love Can Break Your Heart' (taken from the acclaimed FabricLive 77).

George FitzGerald followed, making his debut at Store Street and clearly enjoyed the atmosphere in the main room. Heading over to the second arena, I was eager to catch Moon Boots (French Express) having missed out on attending the MixMag Lab event on Friday afternoon. Moon Boots has been on the French Express' UK tour - alongside Jonas Rathsman and Isaac Tichauer - but tonight was his last show in the country for a while. There was a great vibe by this point and we moved between both rooms absorbing the atmosphere. It was heaving in the second room by the time Skream took to the stage and he played a rousing set. Returning to the main room, Paul Woolford had everyone moving even the security personnel. 'Fly Life Xtra' by Basement Jaxx is a popular track with my friends and it was great to hear that played. Green Velvet closed proceedings and a section of the crowd lifted up someone in a wheelchair to get closer to the action. Incredible scenes in Manchester and thanks to Carling British Cider for a memorable night.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Barclaycard Mercury Prize 2014

I recently entered the Wells and Young’s ‘Barclaycard Mercury Prize’ giveaway. The competition which was announced on the Estrella Damm Facebook Page, required participants to tag one friend in the comments section of the original competition post. The winner received two tickets to the Barclaycard Mercury Prize and complimentary Estrella Damm (four per person). Estrella Damm is a pilsner beer, brewed in Barcelona, Catalonia. Estrella means "star" in both Catalan and Spanish. It's apt then that Estrella Damm were sponsoring the Mercury Prize, considering that the shortlist shines a light on future stars that could benefit from the exposure. I was announced as one of the winners, here's what happened that night...

Arriving at the Roundhouse entrance with my date, we were given the red carpet treatment which included a drinks reception. After having a few beers, guests were taken to their seats for the live performances and ceremony hosted by Nick Grimshaw. All the shortlisted artists receive a specially commissioned 'Album of the Year' bronze trophy. The overall winner receives a cheque and a special winner's trophy. I've seen live performances at the Roundhouse before during the iTunes Festival. Most notably, performances from Bombay Bicycle club, The Courteneers and Phoenix. The iTunes Festival is an annual, month-long music concert series which takes place in September. Bombay Bicycle club were one of the big names shortlisted tonight alongside Damon Albarn, with seven debuts and three jazz artists. 
The 'Albums of the Year' are:

Anna Calvi - One Breath
Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long, See You Tomorrow
Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots
East India Youth - Total Strife Forever
FKA Twigs - LP1
GoGo Penguin - V2.0
Jungle - Jungle
Kate Tempest - Everybody Down
Nick Mulvey - First Mind
Polar Bear - In Each And Every One
Royal Blood - Royal Blood
Young Fathers - Dead

I was eager to see FKA Twigs and Jungle perform at the Roundhouse, having listened to the majority of the albums when the shortlist was announced. All the live performances were impressive and in a shortlist in which there was no obvious winner ― I believed that either FKA Twigs or Jungle would be announced as the winner. Dinner followed the live performances and guests were treated to a mouth-watering menu. 
Nick Grimshaw returned to the stage afterwards to run through the nominations for this year's award. Then came the announcement that Scottish hip hop group Young Fathers had won this year's Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize for their debut studio album Dead. Young Fathers then took to the stage with the shortest acceptance speech: “Thank you. Thank you. We love you all. Thank you!” The aftershow party beckoned but we decided to be sensible and head our separate ways. This proved to be an expensive choice because my date for the evening slept through her stop and ended up miles away from her destination. Mouth open you're. . . getting a cab home from Coventry! A massive congratulations to Young Fathers and thank you to Estrella Damm for an amazing night!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Close Shave

I have experienced so many grand days out this summer and on several occasions I have worn the wrong trousers. On 18th September, I completed the hat-trick of Wallace and Gromit short stories when I opted for a close shave at the #ShaveMeSir Barber Shop. Facial hair has seen a rise in popularity in recent years. November has become synonymous with growing a moustache and I have grown several in an attempt to raise awareness of men's health issues. Last year I chose to grow a goatee for Halloween, the inspiration being Walter White from the drama series Breaking Bad.

Beards, dodgy moustaches and sideburns were commonplace in the seventies and they have made a triumphant return. Facial hair has become more popular than ever and I have been focusing on growing a fine mane. This prompted the visit to the Barber Shop. London’s finest Gentlemen’s Grooming Room Man Made collaborated with online grooming shop Yes Sir! to provide the #ShaveMeSir Barber Shop in the heart of Marylebone Village. At the pop-up shop a shave and a haircut cost you nothing more than a tweet with a hashtag or Instagram photo.

The barber started with a face wash and scrub to unblock pores and remove excess oil. Then a face mask was applied to help soften the beard, reduce sensitivity and reinvigorate the skin whilst a head and neck massage was performed. Hot towels infused with essential oils were then used in conjunction to the steps along with a shaving oil, cream and the sharp blade. The beard was also hair dried, which was something I have never considered doing before the appointment. I will definitely be returning for more once the beard needs maintenance.

This summer there have been several themed events for the bearded men of London. The Kopparberg Urban Forest was a pop-up bar that provided a mix of live music, mouth-watering food and drink behind the city streets of Dalston. They invited bearded men to get involved in the latest trend for floral beards. I attended the event and had a variety of flowers weaved into my beard that afternoon. It’s hard to identify who started the trend but if we ever go to San Francisco, we'll be sure to wear some flowers in our hair.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mischief. Mayhem. Wardrobe.

“Simple thing where have you gone?” 
If you wake up at a different time, in a different place, could you wake up as a different person? I once wrote that I woke up in a tree. That wasn't exactly the truth, but this weekend I woke up in a forest! Snow White found refuge with the dwarfs in an enchanted forest. In Grimm's Fairy Tales, the hero goes into an enchanted forest and finds a place of transformation. My problem isn't transformation, it's when I look in the wardrobe and find towels instead of Narnia! I'm new in the city, and I'm down for a few nights! The halls are not a home, although I decided to go ahead and lay down. Last weekend I tried to start a revolution from my bed, but instant messaging took me on a journey instead. I have been impressed with the easygoing attitude in Leeds and take it for granted. Other cities don't have the same tolerance and it's a shame because there's no rest for the wicked! No harm, their armed. Setting off all your alarms! I attended an event on Friday but unfortunately the signal wasn't right and I didn't last the night! The "Flaming Moe" recipe provided another noteworthy scenario; the customary tip being beyond expectation. Anticipation has the habit of setting you up ― for disappointment in the evening's entertainment but ― tonight there were cocktails ― tonight there was some reminiscing regardless of what's gone before!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Come On ― It's My Birthday!

“Euston, we have a problem...” 
I have seen further by standing on the shoulders of giants; but in those symbolic shadows we stand today. Stepped off the train all alone at dawn, back into the hole where I was born. Oasis defined the nineties and became the inspiration for an entire generation. Chasing The Sun: Oasis 1993 - 1997 is an exhibition featuring rare and iconic photographs, artefacts and memorabilia from the early years. We had planned to attend the event at the beginning of the weekend but became distracted by the street art, murals and bars in Shoreditch, gateway to London's East End. Sculpture in the City, located nearby in the heart of the Square Mile, also provided an alternative cultural environment. Louche returned to London on Saturday for an intimate event at Autumn Street Studios in Hackney Wick. We weren't sure what to expect but the night was enjoyable. Mister! Look at your girl, she loves it! The only disappointment was the journey but even that provided some nuggets of information to take home!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Do I Wanna Know?

“It's a small world...” 
When one door closes, another door opens; but what happens when the closed door opens on another floor? The concept behind Inception (2010) is the placement of an idea into a character's subconscious. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, a professional extractor who commits corporate espionage by infiltrating the subconsciousness of his targets. Cobb has been consumed with regret and in his subconscious he has built an elevator containing various memories, with each floor being defined by a moment that he regrets. These are moments that you can't shift? The type that sticks around like summat in your teeth? Are there some aces up your sleeve? The basement opening to reveal the kitchen instead of the hotel room. No time for interviews! Yeah she's dashing for the exit, collecting breakfast for her clutch bag. The second mouse moves closer to the cheese, but how many secrets can be kept for a rainy day?

Never recreate from your memory. Always imagine new places! We started from the bottom now we're being compared to Drake?! Limbo beckoned, songs about poisonous apples written once upon a time! Who's the fairest of them all? The Disney princess-inspired burlesque dress I purchased meant that my daughter shall go to the ball! You're waiting for a train. A train that'll take you far, far away... When the cat's away, the mice will play and today I celebrate my birthday! I'm grateful to everyone that made an appearance on Saturday and the party continues in London this weekend!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Silence is Golden

“The nights were mainly made for saying things that you can't say tomorrow day.”
I go crazy 'cause here isn't where I want to be, and that distraction feels like a constant boundary. I can't help myself and all I want to hear is “Are you fine?” I have assumed the attitude of the true connoisseur in being within and without. The way I write on my blog is open to interpretation but only I know the true meaning. That includes throwing shapes, throwing drinks or communicating with gremlins! Recently the-one-that-broke-the-curse has drifted away, the situation comparable to Cast Away (2000) with the high breakers on the coral surrounding the island, Wilson falling from the raft and Chuck becoming overwhelmed by loneliness. Guti played at Mint Club this month for system presents Desolat and everyone became overwhelmed by Loneliness (Original Mix). Does that compare? For me, this provided one of the outstanding moments from the events that I have attended this year. I'm still unable to forget about that volleyball sized head! After buying a new volleyball, Chuck travels out into the country to return the unopened FedEx package to the sender. I want to travel and explore the world but I'm having too much fun at the moment!

To be popular means that one is part of the group and apart from it at the same time. F. Scott Fitzgerald describes this in The Great Gatsby (1925), acknowledging that “[Nick Carraway] was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” Could Nick be described as being popular? Then again, could Gatsby? He is renowned for the lavish parties he throws and there are many guests who so eagerly took advantage of his hospitality. Few people could recognise their host though and no one cared enough to show up to his funeral! 

I have several groups of friends in Leeds, despite attempts to merge them. Being in two places at the same time is challenging, especially when I enjoy spending time with everyone. The other weekend I attended an event that my friends were hosting and a private party at another venue. The events were within walking distance but I missed DJ and producer Josh Plews provide everyone with an education. Afterwards the challenge increased; I attempted to be in three places at once but it didn't really happen. I’m up in the club. I'm down on the grind. I'm needing a still to slow down the time! 

That evening Loco Dice returned to Leeds with Robert Dietz, both were playing at Mint Warehouse and the extensive lighting improvements were well received. The crowd favourite, Loco Dice constructed an impressive set, playing with reverb and delays. The track that stood out the most from his performance was Adapter - Yasir (Original Mix). Mint Presents was enjoyable, especially with the improved lighting but not sure about the impromptu dancing at the end. The [foot shufflers] have sent us a message... that they can dance however they want. That no one can stop them. Well, we will send them a message. And we will show them that they can't dance! And that this... this is our land! I imagine auditions for modern dance schools requiring similar choreography! 

Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon that I hadn't experienced before the weekend. It's a transition state between being awake and rest characterised by an inability to move. I didn't enjoy the experience, being unable to move and having visions was overwhelming. I watched my daughter leave the room, heard a baby crying and attempted speaking but these incidents were constructed by my subconscious. I felt like someone was pressing down onto my body and I couldn't support the weight. Many people that experience sleep paralysis are struck with a deep sense of terror, because they sense a presence in the room. I tried to explore the room but the pieces of the puzzle didn't fit together! Not too much difference with events from the real world!