My Top “10” Tunes Of 2011

It was difficult enough in 2010 to pick out my top ten favourite tracks, but this year is even more difficult, though there is a clear number 1 for me.

I tried my best but could only get it down to 20, so here goes:

20. Christian Burkhardt – Stopover Goa – This track has so much energy and was one of the first tracks of 2011 to really get me in the party mood.  Soooo Cocoon.

19. David K – Somewhere In My Head (Deetron Remix) – I’ve only very recently discovered this, a beautifully haunting piece of minimal.  Yes, there is still space for minimal in my music collection in 2011.

18. Maceo Plex – Falling – This is just such a feel-good house track from my favourite producer of 2011, it put a huge smile on my face in Ibiza with tingles down the spine.

17. Noir & Haze – Around (Solomun Vox Mix) – A much slower paced track, with nice vocals…oh and that bassline and those synth stabs.

16. Laura Jones – Love In Me – The influence of old garage sounds was quite a regularity in 2011, and this is the best of the bunch in my opinion.

15. Matt John – Hello Again – This is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, it has these strange warbling sounds and goes “hello, hello” – one of the first tracks that Sven played at Cocoon In The Park, and it stayed in my head all night, just like the number 1 track of my 2011 did.

14. Lovebirds – Want You In My Soul – This kind of track would never have featured in my favourites any time since circa 2004 until now, such has my music preferences veered back to house, it is again a very feel-good song, it is a love song and I put it in my long-lost funky house folder.

13. Thugfucker – Disco Gnome (Tale Of Us Remix) – This is just typical of the disco-house sound that is almost everywhere in 2011, and is even starting to filter into bars in Reading, and will be played in dancefloors in Hull in 2015 (electro-house has finally caught on there, and minimal).

12. Maetrik – Crush On Me – A long build-up into a twisted kind of tech-house track, with vocals that I found most quite amusing to sing at anyone unsuspecting.

11. Efdemin – There Will Be Singing (DJ Koze Remix) – This is really deep, dark and devastating, with a fantastic break-down into an excellent arty sample, and the bassline coming in is…well…devastating, Sven played this in his warm-up to his 9-hour set at fabric earlier in the year and that was when I realised that he wasn’t messing around this year.

10. Maceo Plex – Can’t Leave You – Talking about devastating basslines, this is yet another one but it is quite a light feeling house track too, which is where the magic comes from.  The third mention for my producer of 2011.

9. Eleven Eleven – Tourist Trap (Jamie Jones Miss X Remix) – There is no way that my top 20 can go without a mention of Jamie Jones, despite the haters or probably because of them, the night at fabric back in the autumn was crazy, totally out of this world with excitement and a buzz like only fabric can seem to produce, and even more than the Ricardo and Sven nights and despite (or again, because of) the fact that P. Diddy is part behind this track, it is a monster and representative of the dark, twisted disco-twinged music of Jamie Jones that very special night.

8. A. Mochi – C2M (Gary Beck Remix) – The only proper techno track I am featuring this year, this is the track that I nearly left the main room at Cocoon, Ibiza to check out the terrace but couldn’t bear to tear myself away from Sven and he rewarded me with the relentless pounding monster of a techno track that seemed to go on forever and totally devastated the main room.  And those ice cannons…

7. Creep – Days (Soul Clap Remix) – A much slower house track, and surprise, surprise, it is the bassline that just makes me wet myself yet again, I just think that it is a brilliantly emotive remix.

6. Luca – Different Morals (Clockwork Remix) – Another very slow-paced vocal house track, totally groovy and one that is really growing on me right now, I love the vocals as I sometimes do wonder where people get their morals from – they are different to mine!  Or perhaps more like where I got mine from…ahem.

5. Dinky – Acid In My Fridge (Visionquest Remix) – When I first saw that they had remixed one of my favourite ever minimal tracks, and a stone-cold minimal classic, I was a little concerned but this is amazing as it is ever better than the original, very dark, amazing bassline and oh, Sven played it at fabric and totally blew the place apart – again as part of his warm-up.  Shocking stuff.

4. Lucky Paul – Thought We Were Alone (Money vs Gold Remix) – One of those tracks that a lot of people won’t like, to me though it is a really good feeling epic house track which gave me tingles down the spine the first few times I played it and it therefore just had to be included.

3. Butch – Rawhide – Ricardo played this at Cocoon In The Park, and it sent me absolutely crazy, it is probably the craziest track of the year and a bit of a head-fuck – yes another one that a lot of people won’t like but since when does Ricardo play anything that normal?  Took me about 4 months to work out what the heck it was too.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaoooooooooooowwwwww!

2. Danny Daze – Your Everything – Award for the best video of 2011, and the second best track of 2011, a stone-cold classic house track, an amazing bassline that just goes right through me and a bona-fide amazing moment at fabric when Danny Daze played it, who incidentally also played a very clever and very impressive warm-up at fabric.

1. Azari & III – Hungry For The Power (Jamie Jones Remix) – And yes my number one is the track that everyone seems to love to hate though if it wasn’t RA’s number 1 DJ behind the remix and only had 1,000 views on Youtube instead of 1.2 million views then there would not likely be so many haters.  I first heard this played out at Cocoon In The Park, Sven played it, and the crowd, already such an up-for-it party crowd just went wild.  It stuck in my head all night and became my favourite tune for weeks, if not months of 2011.  I love the bassline, I love the annoying high-pitched noises, I love the vocals.  I love that a British producer/DJ has produced my favourite track of 2011.  I love that it has so many haters.  I love that 6 months after first hearing it, it still makes me want to dance like crazy.  Sorry, but this is my absolute stand-out track of 2011.

I know the chance of getting anyone to comment is quite limited but I really would love to hear what you think of my attempted top 10, and some of your favourite tracks of 2011.

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New Year’s Plans

Tonight is my equivalent of going out for New Year.

Yes I know it is the 30th, but there isn’t anything I want to do on New Year’s Eve in terms of going out, so I am splitting my plans into two.

There is a little night called Groovetech at Iguana bar in Reading tonight, with a few good local DJs playing house, tech-house and techno.  I like this kind of music so I am going to have some fun tonight and a dance.

I hope some of you can join me.

Tomorrow, 31st December, I am going to stay in, have a few drinks, a shot of absinthe and paint.  I have a painting in mind though it isn’t an easy one, I think it is more complex than previous.  This is what I did last year, albeit reluctantly as I didn’t want to stay in by myself but I wasn’t overly keen on any of the other suggestions like celebrating New Year in Sakura/Purple Turtle so I had to do it on my own but I had a great time, mainly because I produced my masterpiece:

If anyone is at a loose end and wants to pop round, they are more than welcome.

I might even do a DJ mix too, we shall see.

Happy New Year 🙂

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Moldovan Visitors!

Regular readers may remember that a couple of months ago, I put out a request for someone from Moldova to visit my blog, and last month, I had not one, but two visitors to my blog from Moldova.

That they found my blog by searching for a picture of Miss World Moldova, is not exactly a surprise, this is the internet after all.

So, that concludes my conquest of Europe, I now have an imprint in more European countries than the European Union – stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr Rompuy (he is our European president, by the way.  No you didn’t vote for him.  Nobody did.  He was appointed – don’t you love European democracy?!).

So where to now?  132 countries and counting, maybe I need to conquer the rest of South America?  Only Paraguay, Suriname and French Guiana are remaining, and I reckon those last two countries don’t actually really exist.

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Merry Christmas Everyone (Or Happy Sunday Bacon-haters!)

I decided against sending individual Christmas messages to friends as I just have way too many people in my phone book now – and I certainly am not sending a generic message out, not quite my style.

So I thought I would wish all the truly important people in my life a Merry Christmas – my blog readers!

All 40,698 of you across 126 countries – I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

And to help get you into the spirit, I thought you would appreciate a picture of your favourite saint:

Oops, wrong one…

With a selection of my favourite presents – as Tony might say on TV – didn’t he do well?

But Christmas is a time for giving as well as receiving, so I thought I would offer a gift to all of my readers, which is a picture of my Christmas cracker gift, just after Christmas dinner.

I really hope you appreciate this:

And finally, proof that even I can get a Christmas kiss:

Ho ho ho.

8 Factors To Consider When Buying A DJ Laptop

Resident Advisor advised me of an article regarding how to choose a laptop for DJing with 8 questions one should ask oneself – I thought I could do better:

1. Does the logo light up?
2. Is it thinner than a piece of paper?
3. How many pointless things can I sync it to?
4. Would I get more sex if I invested that money in a penis extension instead?
5. Will it finally make those pesky vinyl DJs extinct due to its futureness?
6. Is it really that difficult to burn cds?
7. What will I do when it crashes?
8. Should I also invest in some kind of helmet like Deadmau5?

Coat…taxi…beatings…all on their way

How To Embarrass Oneself – By James Winfield

Most people would keep something like this secret, but given my near-perfection, at least in music tastes, if not also in beauty and intelligence, I thought I should admit something a tiny little bit embarrassing – it is always good to make the odd mistake in your life, so here goes.

I once bought the below album:

Oh yeah…Strictly Ayia Napa.

Wicked.

Did you know I went there once too?  Only a couple of years ago too.  Ouchy ouchy.

This Racism Thing

Forgive me for being a white male in a country which is predominantly white so perhaps not having the experience of the injustice of racism I might not be able to comprehend as well as others, but isn’t this picking out certain footballers who have used the n-word a bit pedantic?

I am sure that it is offensive to many, and should ideally not be used.  I would certainly not use it.  Neither should a certain previously bald striker for Man Utd go around saying f****** c*** all the time every game, or so it seems – surely that is offensive to some people too?

I am not defending it for a second, but I feel that some people are really going over the top – perhaps in some strange misguided logic to correct heinous wrongs done by generations in the past, I don’t know.

How come it is ok for me to take the piss out of someone for being French, but not for being black?  I don’t quite understand.  Perhaps it is because I view everyone as equals that it is nonsensical to me.

How come Suarez gets an 8 game ban for using the n-word, which is apparently common in South America, but ex-baldy who has lived here all his life pretty much gets away with what he says?

To me – racism is when you get excluded from society in one way or another – be that not getting a job because of your skin colour, or not having the same educational opportunities, or being looked upon as a lower form of face.

Aggressive verbal racism, like the tram woman, is also abhorrent.

I am not convinced that some racist comments on a football pitch, or apparently now I hear Alan Hansen had to apologise for using the word ‘coloured’ – it just all seems to much to me, and will probably do more harm than good in the long run to stop those intolerant folk of whom there sadly still are some in society behaving in a racist manner.

Rant over.

No Adverts On My Blog – Ever

During innebriation last weekend, apparently I applied for a Google Adsense account – I guess with 200 visits some days to certain pages with nice pictures on, it might have generated me a few quid, who knows.

However, I have been declined – due to

Of all things…

Wait for it…

This is me we are talking about…

We've found adult content on
your site. This includes text or images that contain sexual, lewd or
provocative content, and sites that require users to be at least 18, or
that may not be safe for work.

A little warning here, do not open the links if you are at work.  For home educational use only.

Would you Adam and Eve it?

Well, fuck me sideways.

As if.

Google can go fuck themselves.

Things I Am Looking Forward To

In chronological order:

1. The sausage roll I just bought.  With a big pile of ketchup.
2. Scratching the 3 scratchcards that I just bought.  I allow myself one a week – gambling seems the right thing to do when unemployed, and I won £6 last weekend which is my highest win all year.  So I have re-invested.
3. Gravy.  I need gravy.  It is my most reliable and available cure, though it does mean a walk to Morrison’s and I am not in the mood to get off the sofa.  Bugger.
4. A day of politics and news.  As I said, I cannot be bothered to get off the sofa so I will lose myself in the joy of politics.
5. Going home for Christmas.  Nothing like a bit of time with the family, they know how to make me feel appreciated, unconditional love, a rare thing.  And I much appreciate it, especially in uncertain times, which no matter how much I put a positive spin on things, I am in uncertain times in my life.  Though I won’t appreciate the first thing my mam says which will be “oh you’ve put on weight”…yes I know…say something nice please when I walk through the door…my inability to not put on weight is the quickest and easier way to make me depressed…and it is getting to me at the moment, I don’t need it pointing out, ta.  Once I get past that bit, then I know I will have a lovely Christmas with those most important to me, who I don’t see enough of…I do wish there was a way to get up and back without having to fork out £80-£90 on a train ticket.  Greedy bastards.  Thankfully, I have a lift this time so only a petrol contribution is required…though I am on pre-warning of how diabolical he is going to make the music, I think especially for me.
6. Going to Hull.  Yes, the place I love to hate.  Or hate to love.  But it is where I am from and is a big part of why I am who I am, love me or loathe me.  And it is always an exceptional reminder that I am lucky.  Despite the frustrations and imperfections of life, I do have it pretty damn good.
7. Groovetech on 30th December.  The one regular saving grace of the underground house/techno scene in Reading at the moment, for me.  And you might know just how important music is to me.  It is long overdue me getting completely smashed and having a good night…ok two weeks as we stand now, but that is a long time and come 30th December it will have been four weeks.
8. New Years Eve.  I don’t like this occasion particularly, but last year I stumbled across the perfect way to do it, quite literally, by staying in by myself, having a couple of bottles of wine, a shot of absinthe and getting my paintbrushes out.  I have two paintings in my heart that I want to get out, neither are especially easy.  I didn’t want to do new year on my own last year – but it turned out to be one of the best new year’s eve’s ever so why change a formula that works.
9. A trip to fabric, hopefully, in January.  A couple of very interesting line-ups in January, noticeably on 14th and 28th, I would very much like to do one of those.  As I said earlier, I cannot be bothered today – the sooner I return to my sofa and have that sausage roll, the better, so if you want to know what they are, go look on their website for yourself!
10. And finally, my birthday.  Me and my sister are going to watch Hull City vs Reading at the Majeski Stadium on 21st January, it was so much fun last year, so I am delighted that the football league have once again arranged this fixture for my birthday weekend.  Knowing me and my sister, we will go out for drinks afterwards…knowing me…and my sister too, we will go to the Oakford…I’m not sending Facebook event invites out or anything, I am not overly fussed about celebrating it, I am just going to do something that I really want to do, which is go watch the football with my delightful sister, and whatever else happens, happens, and whoever joins will join.  I did consider dragging her to fabric in retaliation for her dragging me to some god-awful dingy drunken rock/indie club for her birthday (I did make it nearly until the club closed…somehow!) but I am not sure I would appreciate a night of Efdemin and Skudge…let alone my sister.  And no Craig Richards?!  Huh?!  Why does Craig Richards never play fabric on my birthday weekend?

Right, quick e-mail to fabric and then that sausage roll…last week’s unwatched Newsnights and the political review of European politics here I come.

Crossroads

I kind of feel that I am at a crossroads in my life at the moment.

I do not have a defined career goal, and now the shackles of employment have long been released, the world is kind of my oyster if I want to go somewhere new to find a job.

But I am not the travelling sort, I like my life as it is, and have become quite appreciative of myself, but my life is missing something.

Instant pleasure would be gained through being able to enjoy the music I love so much, in my local area.  But Reading has no regular house music scene.

London does.  I could move there.  I am applying for jobs there.  However, I am not sure I want to move to such a big city though, as much as I love it.

Leeds does.  I love the north.  I love northerners.  I am one.  I would fit in much easier than I do in Reading, for sure!  But I do kind of enjoy being a northerner down south…despite the different morals.  And it is a much tougher life up north.  It is a bit more exciting down here…the slow pace of life can wait another couple of decades.

I could try to be the creator of something that I am looking for in Reading but I am not sure my efforts would be appreciated…or whether it would work.

My heart lies with the music I love. I need to satisfy my desires.  I need to give my heart a bit of love and attention.  I am quite frustrated at the moment, for one reason or another.  Being out of work doesn’t exactly help, neither does not having a career path/plan/goals.

I do have dreams, but I am not confident enough to pursue them just yet, as I know I am a rather over-optimistic person at times.

I clearly am missing a little satisfaction in life and I am not convinced I am going to find it if I stay in this town that I really do like, but which I may have slightly fallen out of love with.

Do I take a risk and make a big change?  Would it be worth it?  Or do I stick it out and keep hoping?

Past evidence is inconclusive – moving to Reading was a big change of life, but an excellent decision.

Going for a promotion from a job I liked into the unknown, at Verizon, in 2010 was not an excellent decision.

Not taking the risk and going for a promotion just because I didn’t have the “required” language skills at Verizon in 2008 was a bad decision.

I could give many examples either way…

I don’t really have a way to decide rationally…I am kind of hoping that the decision is kind of made for me.

I do have these moving elsewhere thoughts at least once a year and can normally quite easily dismiss them but the opportunity is much more there for the taking than it ever was due to my redundancy…but my head says please don’t ask…my heart also says please don’t ask…

The world is my Oyster card.  It might be time to start using it a bit more.