Do I Still Enjoy Living In London?

It’s only Wednesday evening and I’ve already ditched the vaguely less unhealthy diet (ie less than 3,000 calories a day), and opened a bottle of red wine.  Actually it was already opened – I’m finishing it off.

I am questioning things at the moment.  Particularly in terms of where I work and where I live.

Why do I live in Harrow?  Am I still happy in my job?  Is the commute worth it?  At what point do I get fed up of being on junior pay?  Am I still a junior developer?  Should I start looking for another job?  Should I move closer to work?  Is living on my own worth it?  Do I actually still enjoy living in London?  Am I black?

I knew the deal from the off – moving to London for a new career wasn’t going to be easy.  I knew I’d be much poorer.  I knew it would be hard work.

Yet as I get older, fatter and even less fit, doing the longest working days of my life with the longest ever commute is taking its toll.  I’m often tired, often resorting to Red Bull, chocolate, sausage sandwiches – just whatever I can to survive and make it through the day.

Once I get home, I have 2 hours before it is time to go to bed – 20 minutes to chill out and read, then maybe put TalkSport on or something for 20 minutes, then I’m normally ready to sleep.

There is no time to enjoy London.  There are all kinds of events at the office, all kinds of things I’d like to do – evening classes in Spanish, evening coding practice events – meeting other developers, finding new friends.  Having a fucking beer in the evening sun.

But I know if I don’t get my 8 hours sleep, I am not as on the ball the next day – and I really need to be in my job.  I cannot do my job properly at even 80% – my old job as a credit controller I could turn up still fucked off my face having not slept and still turn in a decent day’s work, as I didn’t have to think.

So my dream of moving to London so I could do all these cool things in the evening isn’t turning out to plan.  Not that I can afford them even if I had the time.

I have proven myself as a web developer, yet there is no sign of a decent pay rise.  I know I can get £5-10k more elsewhere – I regularly receive e-mails from recruiters and department managers requesting I interview for roles for £10k more, that I am experienced enough for.  I have actually started thinking about the e-mails I receive rather than responding with pages of GDPR compliance law.

In fact, I am actually regretting saying “no thanks” to one last week.  Maybe I am only thinking that as it has been a particularly difficult and miserable week for the whole tech team, but I do feel that I am edging closer towards the door.  The low pay, combined with all the bullshit like 4 hours of unpaid customer service a month, plus having more responsibility than most junior developers (at least from what I read online) is making me question my situation.

At what point does having a good boss and being able to wear shorts stop outweighing the feeling of being underpaid?

Also living where I do takes up a lot of my time.  2.5 hours commuting each day if it runs to clockwork.  Which is a big if – though it has been better recently.

Not only that, but living by myself means I have to look after a whole house – one of the reasons I wanted a pay rise was so I could afford a cleaner once a month, so I could then study more.  Plus the amount of time I spend washing up without a dishwasher.

But what if I move house to near work then I realise that my current disposition against my job isn’t temporary?

The thing that most pisses me off is my belly.  But I don’t have time for exercise and I’m often too tired to eat healthily – which is a negative virtuous circle.  And I know I have to do something about this.  I really do have to take this seriously – but I simply don’t have the energy to do so.

So I don’t enjoy Monday to Friday in London any more.  Long gone are the days where I get excited to get on the underground in the morning.  I’m closer to being arrested for biting someone that spends 2 seconds at the ticket barrier trying to find their Oyster card.

Saturdays I then tend to have to clean the house.

Sundays are the best day of the week – I have my roast dinner adventure.

And then it is back to Monday.

Don’t get me wrong – I know a lot of people feel like this, and a lot of people have much more difficult lives.  But I worry that I am working so much that I am not getting time to enjoy my life.  I moved to London to fulfil a dream.

Yet it is just proving as difficult as other periods of my life, albeit just a very different type of difficult.

It is still preferable to Bracknell.

There are solutions.  Lots of potential solutions.  I best go to bed – it is approaching 10pm.  I didn’t answer the question, did I?

James Went To Some Exhibitions

It always tickles me when you speak to an immigrant and they reel off all the places they have visited; Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Tower Of London, Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Imperial War Museum, Transport Museum…
You name it, they’ve done it.  You name it, I haven’t.
It isn’t because I don’t want to go.  My to-do list is chocka with cultural activities, parks, museums, restaurants (and pubs) that I want to go to.  Unsurprisingly, I make it to the pubs – probably because it is easier to find someone to come with me, “do you want to go to the pub with me?” has more appeal than “do you want to come to an exhibition on photography of the Syrian civil war with me?”.
I don’t believe in regretting what I do, but I do believe in regretting not doing things, and there were 4 exhibitions that I really want to see, closing between 3rd September and 17th September.  My hand was forced.
On Bank Holiday Monday, I headed out to the Imperial War Museum.  The war in Syria has touched me more than any war in my lifetime, through the sheer wanted destruction of human lives, and the willingness of the international community to stand by and let it happen.  Special mention goes to Russia for actively encouraging the death machine of the murderous Assad.
The exhibition itself was of photography from 2013/14, showing the lives of ordinary people in the conflict.  It tried to focus on the human element and to be objective – some of the photography was stunning, yet emotionally devastating.  This was the most striking part of the whole exhibition for me.
Then there was a slide show of images from the refugee crisis – again highlighting the human catastrophe this was, and the desperation of those trying to flee to safety, and to a better life.
In a separate exhibition area, there was a small selection of artefacts, including this bullet-ridden road sign, and some disturbing memorabilia showing the relationship between Assad and Putin.  And a replica recreation of a barrel bomb – which I decided against photographing.

Then there was an 8 minute video, showing the history of the conflict, and also highlighting something that I was not aware of, that being of the great inequality prior to the uprising between those in Assad’s circle, and those not.
It really is shocking to see how a stable and relatively prosperous country can be destroyed through civil war, all started from a few teenagers writing anti-Assad graffiti.
Once I had pondered what I had seen, it was time to go see something more cheerful.
Butterflies!
Every year I told myself that I would go see the butterfly exhibition at the Natural History Museum, finally I did it.  A relatively small price of £5.85 gained me entry on a hot day, to a hotter and very humid tent, full of tropical butterflies.
It was quite a bit smaller than I expected, and only took around 15 minutes from start to finish.
Not an awful lot I can say about it, plants and some butterflies.  Some exceptionally colourful ones – like this magnificent bright blue butterfly, or another almost luminous green butterfly.  One really large species too which looked more like a bird.
Actually quite a good photograph for my standards.
Not entirely sure it was value for money, but it wasn’t far off.
Then on a Friday evening, I went to the robot exhibition at the Science Museum.  It cost £12.35 a ticket to go around a very over-heated section of the Science Museum.
It started with a baby, and went through clockwork machinations – none of which I was particularly interested in.
Then it went into a area showing more modern advances in robots (did you know the word ‘robot’ originates in Czech?), with a history of robots and the ideas around them in the 20th Century.
I was rather impressed to see the famous T2.
The exhibition discussed the ideas of robots looking like humans and how we interact with them.
Later on (not that much later as it wasn’t the most time-consuming exhibition ever), we went through a more futuristic zone, with various robots that are used nowadays or very recently – many of which seemed to come from factory production lines.
I also found my girlfriend.
It was quite cool to wander through, but I wouldn’t say it was worth paying for.  It was hot, it was very busy (despite ticketed timeslots) – some of the robots are going on permanent display anyway.  It wasn’t as interactive as I thought it might be either.
Glad I went in terms of #FOMO but if you didn’t go – you didn’t miss out.
Finally, I wanted to go see Walala’s colourful maze at the NOW Gallery in Greenwich.
I was going to go last Friday after work, bit of a mission to get there and then get home, but it was the last weekend that it was on.
I quickly checked their website at the end of the day, and realised that it was ticketed and sold out.  Oops.  Lesson learnt – if you want to do something, don’t leave it until the last minute.
I did however console myself with a walk around the temporary installation of Villa Walala in Broadgate Square, at the back of Liverpool Street Station.
Next up?  Who knows.  I did want to go see the Basquiat exhibition at the Barbican, but it’s £16 and I’m not that interested.

Hello Harrow

I’ve finally done it.  I have moved to London.  Harrow to be exact.  Well, to be more exact, Rayner’s Lane – or that is the closest tube station anyway, at just 6 minutes walk from my house.

Chosen for convenience of location above any other factor, it is just 35 minutes, door to door, to Baker Street, and 45 minutes, door to door, to work, in Amersham.  Rayner’s Lane has the added advantage of not only being on the AIR CONDITIONED Metropolitan line, but also on the Piccadilly line.

Sure the area isn’t cool or edgy like Dalston, Peckham or Hackney are (or Shoreditch used to be) – it is generally quite suburban with the odd rough edge.  There are only two pubs – one is a Wetherspoons, the other a quite rough looking Irish pub – apparently the best gaa pub in town, whatever one of those might be.

One of the first selling points was the street where the house was, all white-painted fake-Georgian style houses, terraced into groups of 6 or so houses, trees on the street, manicured gardens, driveways – all very pretty and welcoming.  Like England is supposed to be.  Pretty much the opposite to where I lived in Bracknell.

Just around the corner, is the main high street, complete with tube station, a Sainsburys local, an Iceland for when I have the desire to eat anti-food, a Romanian shop with hotties and occasional house music playing (no minimal, yet), a determinedly disappointing Tesco Express, a handful of chicken shops, a fish restaurant that might be good, 27 other local supermarkets/off licenses in a row and a variety of Indian-themed places, such as the Indian wedding shop.

And a special mention to the cake shop who told me off for photographing their cakes.  I am delighted that you have put me off from eating buying any as a lot of pounds could have been lost, and kilograms gained.

The area has a very mixed ethnicity as you may imagine.  Predominantly asian, particularly Indian, but a mix of white, black, English, Romanian, Polish all featuring quite highly in the mix of cultures too.

No hipsters, there are very few beards, no unicyclists – in fact, hardly any cyclists despite the provision of actual cycle paths.  They also have outdoor gym equipment in the area.  No I haven’t used it.

I was quite pleased the other day to note that there is a cricket ground very close to my house.  A really thumping 6 might even reach my garden.  In fact it is a sports ground but I may well end up watching the odd game there next season, all being well.  They have tables with alcohol-sponsored umbrellas so I hope that means that they also sell alcohol.

Further away from my house, within walking distance, is a Waitrose.  In the opposite direction, a shopping street that Bracknell would be proud of – Argos, Poundland, Primark – everything.  Though as I was walking back through the tunnels under the overpass, and I noted that they had a TV screen before this ugly barbaric 1950’s tunnel structure.  I wondered why – it is a view of the other end of the tunnel.  Slightly disconcerting.

Parks are close by, trees are aplenty in the area, and some areas of Harrow are very nice indeed – I haven’t ventured to them yet but my landlady did show me on her guided tour that she gave me.  Harrow boys school looks posh, and some of that area looks like a quintessential English market town.

I live in a 3-bedroom house with just the landlady (currently).  The front garden is just a drive, the back garden is mud – to the back of that is the Piccadilly line – quite comforting to hear tube trains, unless one has had to leave the windows open overnight – they are quite a wake-up call.

The house certainly could do with some modernisation in places, and a few little repairs, but it is perfectly imperfect for me – I could have moved into an ultra-modern place that I looked at but I just felt that I would be stepping on eggshells a lot there.

The best part is my bedroom.  Lots of space, a large wardrobe, under-bed space – everything I own, and I own a lot of shit, fits in.

I can see myself being happy here.

Reading vs Bracknell vs London

During March’s monthly no computer night, and I actually ended up laying down and allowing myself time to do nothing but think, which is quite unusual for me.

The two important items on my thought-agenda recently have been what next step to take in my career, and where to live next.

Firstly I would like to progress my career.  At some point I want to be doing web development, but I would have to start way down the pecking order on a lower wage.  I am not yet developed enough to be doing this.  I am happy in my current job, but it doesn’t challenge me.  I really like the people I work with and for, and enjoy my days.  And can listen to my music – massive bonus.  But as I said, it doesn’t even vaguely stretch my capabilities, and I am just floating along.  And the lack of air conditioning really fucks me off.

Secondly, our house contract ends in August and we are not renewing it.  So I need somewhere to live.

Slightly less importantly, I need to find a way to spend more time studying than I do at the moment, so I can bring about my career change and get closer to the goal of being able to work from Ibiza/Hull or wherever I fancied.

One possibility is moving to Bracknell.  I could walk to work, saving myself over 10 hours a week that I could invest in studying.  But then I would be trapped in Bracknell on a weekend – only able to visit Reading within the confines of the South West Trains train timetable.

The easiest option would be a find a room in Reading town centre.  That would not be too difficult.

Actually, the easiest option, were it on offer would have been to stay in my house.  And knowing me, I would have taken that option by default.

But if I am going to have to move house, then why not move to London?

These are the reasons why not:

Bloody expensive
My friends
My DJ residency
Weather Forecasting page
Roast Dinners Around Reading
Erm…

These are the reasons why I should:

I am bored of Reading
London is exciting
I can earn more money
I can go to all kinds of exciting events
Fun is endless
More free things to do
More culture
Wider range of restaurants
Expanded career options
New interesting people to meet
Slightly easier, and also cheaper to get to Hull
Not having to get an 8am train back to Reading after a night’s clubbing
I have friends in London too
My sister is moving to London
I can get to airports slightly easier.

The list of potential reasons is not quite infinite but I could go on.  Why haven’t I already moved there?

I can still visit my friends in Reading.  Until I get barred from the Purple Turtle, or have burnt the place down, I intend to carry on with my DJ residency even if it means a trip back to Reading.  I have a couple of kind offers of places to stay and it would be an excellent excuse for a weekend in Reading to see those of my friends that still live there, of course including my best friend but I have numerous close friends in Reading.

Also I can just do Roast Dinners in London instead.  And I could even start my Tapas Or Crapas blog (there are not enough tapas places in Reading to make it interesting!).  Plus there is no reason I would have to stop doing my weather forecasting page – maybe I would change it to Reading & London, or maybe I would keep it unique.

So there it is.  My decision is made.  I am moving to Bracknell.

Only joking.  I am moving to London.

But wait a minute, I hear you say.  Haven’t I said on several occasions over the last 10 years that I was moving to London?

Indeed I have.  But it has been 5 weeks since I made my decision and I have only become more convinced that it is the right path for me.  The simplest of things – a 6 hour Wolf & Lamb DJ set the other Sunday at a pub in Angel.  I cannot get that in Reading.  Plus all the hotties.

The first job is to find a job.  I don’t mind how long it takes.  It has to be the right job.  Apart from the lack of air conditioning, there is nothing pushing me out of Easynet.

Then I will work out where to live.  Ideally I will find somewhere within 40 minutes travel to work.  Even better if it was within walking distance (walking distance for me is less than an hour).

And if I don’t find a job by time my house contract runs out then I will just find a short-term let in Reading somewhere.  No point in moving to say, Peckham, and then getting a job in north London.

I have a plan and it is in motion.  The only thing that bothers me is the cost – I’ll need a new suit, plus interview shirts, plus the money for train tickets for interviews – it is going to be costly and there is no money in my budget for it.  I shall have to look at it as investment.

Bring on the leaving party/leaving roast.  Fuck it, leaving pie, leaving party, leaving after-party and leaving Sunday roast all in one session.

A Day In London With No Beer

I like to extend my birthday celebrations as long as possible, so 10 days after my actual birthday I headed to London to meet my sister.  Shoreditch, to be exact.  On day 2 of my detox, to be exact.  Much more sober than those asking me for money.  I don’t give to those begging on the street and certainly will not be contributing to their merriment if I am not allowed.  Rant over.

First stop was a roast.  It was National Yorkshire Pudding Day so I had an extra Yorkshire Pudding and they were the best.

I wanted to have the beef but alas, it was cooked in ale.  This detox malarky really is dull isn’t it?  It is pork belly in case you cannot tell.

Next up was to fulfil a long held dream.  For nearly a year I have dreamt of going to the Emirates.  No, not that football stadium full of nobheads who don’t know what real football is.

The Emirates Cable Cars.

It rocked.  From side to side.

We followed this with a walk around the Millenium Dome – my mate at work, Steve, reckons that there is this really upcoming musician called Taylor Swift so we went to get a photo with her to make him jealous.

One for the credibility bank I reckon.

Then we decided to downgrade a bit.  Guess where we are?

Yes you got it, the Tate Modern.  Just how good is this piece of art?  I took some flash photography in an attempt for our misery to be cut short (being on a detox I cannot do drugs in front of the security).

Alas we did not get thrown out, 15 minutes of being a dickhead was enough so it was time to find a scone.  Pronounced SCONE.  Not SCON.

Just look how artistically laid out that is.

Decisions

Oh decisions, decisions.
I have been deliberating whether to go out on Friday night
for some time.  I am still deliberating.
If I go that will mean I probably have a budget of £100.00
for the whole of February, after rent, bills and food.  Not ideal.
But there is a good DJ playing in Richy Ahmed, a really good
DJ in fact (don’t let the Hot Creations tag fool you, he is more interesting
and more underground than that).  I haven’t
been to Cubed for ages, the guys who run it are sound – and it is my last
possible night out before February Detox begins.
Right now, all I feel like is staying in and having a pint
of gravy!  Catching up with ironing and
stuff on Saturday.  Oh I don’t know what
to do!
I want to go but I know I shouldn’t.
But I could be missing out on an amazing night out.  I may just toss a coin.
Sunday I don’t have to make any such decisions as it is a
continuation of my birthday celebrations (I do like to drag these things out as
much as possible).  I am meeting my
sister in London and she has booked somewhere for a roast dinner.  I have no idea where and I am really looking
forward to it.
She does have a huge challenge to beat my gastronomic treat
for her birthday back in September when I took her to Poppies Fish & Chip
Restaurant, which won the 2014 Independent Fish and Chip Restaurant of the Year award recently.

Cocoon at Building Six 30/11/2013

Sven at Matter back in 2009/10 was just a match made in
clubbing heaven and when Matter sadly folded and became the dross that it was
in the intervening years, there was a hole.  A big hole.
Maybe like the dreams of a perfect world of global peace and
an economy that would always grow, circa the turn of the Millenium, it was just one of those brief
moments of a utopian life, cruelly taken away with a return to reality.
 Sorry but you
cannot have things that good.
However when
LWE announced that they had gone into partnership with the O2 to bring us
Building Six, excitement grew and I knew it would not be long before they
announced Sven would be back.
And they did.  Saturday 30th November 2013.  Shit.
 I was going to Manchester that day for the Rugby League World Cup Final
with my Dad.  But I like a challenge.  5am wake-up, 7am train to Manchester (though
closer to 8am by time it arrived, some upturned eyebrows from fellow passengers
when I ordered a rose wine on the train at 8am).  I will write a separate
blog post about Manchester so all I will say is that it was a great day out and
I have to say Manchester is a brilliant city and thoroughly worth a visit, a
really good vibe, really buzzing and clearly a place on the up. 
Though Old Trafford is a dump.
So I got the last train to London, a little tired, slightly
drunk, wondering how the heck I was going to do another 12 hours.  With a
ticket for seat number 63 on a carriage with only 62 seats, I decided that
Virgin Trains owed me a comfortable ride so I squeezed past the standing drunks
onto 1st class and floated my way to London, dreaming of the night ahead.
LWE have developed a reputation for putting some exciting events on,
in interesting spaces with
some superb acts/DJs, but often the logistical thinking seems somewhat lacking.  Every
time I have been to one of their events there has always something to moan
about (I’m from up north – we are only happy when we moan so forgive me), I shall get it out of the way.
Firstly, the queues.  We had to be in by 1am, I assume
this is something to do with their license but this is pretty strict. 
On the plus side it does create a good atmosphere getting everyone there
at a reasonable time.  But with most of the crowd arriving at the same time it was a long
time to wait to get in.  And then another long time to queue to put my
coat in.  Many people apparently were not able to put their coats in – why
was enough cloakroom capacity not afforded?  Did they think only half of the crowd would bring
a coat in winter?  Ridiculous.  Get a calculator.  And some more coat hangers.  Oh yeah and more cloakroom staff – hell maybe
even a second cloakroom!
Also, a friend had her phone stolen and someone on the
dancefloor had her purse taken from her.  I know there is little promoters
and events staff can do to stop thieving scumbags and this an issue all venues and parties suffer from in
London, but more could be done to make people aware of the problem of
thefts – fabric make it very clear to all that there is a problem.
 Overall the thieving problem in nightclubs does seem to my ears and eyes
to have lessened over the last year thankfully but I am not in receipt of
statistics and this is based
only on what I see and hear.  Be careful people.
All
ventures do have issues at the beginning and as long is such issues are tackled
over time, then Building Six will without doubt be a tremendous success.  Especially
attracting the likes of Cocoon.
Onto the important bit…
It was so good to be back there. 
The soundsystem is exactly the same as it was in the days of Matter and
boy have I missed it.  Is there a more powerful
club soundsystem in the world?
For the 4th or 5th consecutive visit I totally
forgot about the existence of the second room. 
A couple of friends did pop in and said there was some really good house
music being played.  But for me it was
all about the main room.
First up within the time I was there was Mathew Jonson.  He has produced some absolute classics in the
past though in recent years I have perhaps not been so keen on some of his
productions (though still very good – and I did find space for the below track
in my most recent DJ mix) but I was suitably impressed by his performance.  I was in various queues and trying to find
friends for most of his set so didn’t get on the dancefloor during this time.
Joris Voorn is another who has made some amazing tracks and remixes – his
remix of Dark Flower is one of my favourite ever productions.  But then I have seen some pretty uninspiring
DJ sets from him, admittedly on the internet – I think this could have been my
first time of seeing him live.  He was really
good, he did play a good set to warm up for the main act and again I would be
happy to see him again.  Not especially
keen on the tricks and wizardry but that is just me being a bit of a music
purist.
Then onto the man who really does let the music do the talking, the main
DJ, one of my two greatest DJ heros ever. 
Sven Vath (sorry Sven I cannot be bothered to find the umlaht on my English keyboard).  The suspense in the build-up
to Sven, such an adored character and DJ is always immense as it was for my
first Cocoon experience in 2004, and in this ultra-powerful club this was
certainly no exception.

Sven started off playing some nice warm-up house, before slowly travelling into
some really dancefloor pounding techno but keeping it to his style, with some trance
hands-in-the-air moments too.  I was
captivated, I was transfixed.  I hardly
moved away from the dancefloor for any reason.


But it ended way too quickly. 
Again I assume a matter of licensing, we managed to get one more tune
then I thought I heard a rumour of two more hours but alas the staff were not
having it.

And then onto the pain in the ass to get out – not allowed to use the toilet at
the end, the 45 minute queue for a coat and then having to wait around until
715am for the first tube – why close a club at 6am when there is no way for
anyone to get away from the complex until well over an hour later?  Did anyone see any taxis?  Bad logistics again.
One thing that we all commented upon was how good most of the crowd
were, a friendly and very-up for it crowd, sure a few idiots but that is par
for the course, lots of lovely people.
This was my best night out of 2013 by quite some way.  That there were so many imperfections but yet
4 days later I still have a huge smile on my face shows just how sensational it
was.  There is room for improvement and I
am confident that Sven’s assumed appearances in 2014 will take it up another
level.
Cocoon and Sven – back where they belong.

Cocoon @ Great Suffolk Street with Sven, Cassy, Carl Craig & Onur Ozer

I bought my ticket in June for this.  I like to be prepared.

A mini-disaster nearly struck during the week when my wonderful clubbing partner announced that she would not be able to make it however I had bought my ticket so long ago that there was no pulling out for me.  I didn’t want to go by myself but I was up for the adventure.
A slight side-track perhaps but beforehand I went to an all you can eat buffet place for dinner, and had lots of gravy.
Yes, even on dessert.
You can take the boy out of the north…
Anyway, come Saturday evening, my dancing partner was clearly feeling as inspired as my culinary creation and we made our way to London, to a new venue for both of us (clubbing by oneself is just not the same).
Having become very used to the middle-class comforts of fabric, neither of us were really sure what we were going to make of Great Suffolk Street Warehouse however it was a super venue, a bit cold away from the dancing areas but more than enough body heat to ensure coats could go in the well-run and secure cloakroom.
I was not impressed with the crap speakers at the Cocoon event with Sven at Brixton Electric that LWE ran earlier in the year, however I am delighted to say that they employed Funktion One speakers and they did the job.  I wonder if my constant pestering did the trick?!  Ideally there could have been some smaller stacks half-way down the main room, though I am not sure of the logistics of that as they would need to be guarded one would assume.
In fact the promoters, LWE can be delighted with their efforts, as can the venue, almost everything ran smoothly, there were no hiccups despite it being a large scale event in London, and there was a good crowd, no queue to get in, enough toilets, just about enough people working the bars…getting the logistics wrong can ruin what should be an excellent night, so definitely appreciated.
So onto the DJ’s.

And there was an excellent choice on offer – Onur Özer is probably my favourite Turkish DJ, not that I can think of any others off the top of my head, and he played a clever warm-up set for Sven, starting off with deeper house but going into tech-house and slightly straying into techno territory in the hour before the man everyone was there to see.  Just as impressive as he was a fair few years ago when I saw him warm up for Sven at Cocoon Ibiza.
And the the main attraction, Sven Väth.  Very quickly into his set the acoustics were perfected and volume increased, and Sven quickly set about sending the dancefloor crazy, and it was off the hook at times.
Annoyingly, my friend and I lost each other less than an hour into Sven’s set and spent around half the time looking for each other, myself going across the packed dancefloor many times, and my friend apparently going up and down the dancefloor – no reception on my mobile did not help matters.
In the end I just gave up and danced the rest of Sven’s set away.  Albeit only lasting 3 hours – I never knew Sven did sets that short?!  Probably the shortest set out of the 20 or so times I have seen him.
And yes he was firing off techno monsters…thank you to whomever posted this video on Youtube.

Actually the one thing that could have been improved was the view of Sven.  A higher stage would have been welcomed so we could actually see him!  Only Sven am I bothered about seeing whilst he is DJing.

Great minds think alike and myself and my friend headed towards the bar the minute Sven finished to miraculously re-unite, and set about wandering the 3 dancefloors trying to settle on something, and we decided upon Cassy and Carl Craig, who we saw out until they finished around 5:30am.

It took a little while to get into them but they were both top notch, especially Carl Craig who was leading into classic techno territory with some absolute monsters, and he got on the microphone at the end to lead into the closing minutes – I don’t recall seeing Carl Craig before although I probably have done, and he was class.  Top stuff.

It is very sad to see so many reports of thefts especially of mobile phones, however it is not just this event that has suffered as I have read many reports of events having been targeted by criminal gangs this year, both in London and Ibiza and I doubt that these are the only two locations suffering, I just happen to visit and read about parties in those places far more than anywhere else.
I constantly check my pockets during a night to make sure my belongings are there and try to keep an eye on whomever my dancing partner(s) to make sure they are not targeted.  I may consider just getting a cheap pay as you go phone if these scumbags are not dealt with as it isn’t exactly necessary to have my smart phone at a nightclub – someone else will put pictures up and videos on Youtube, and most people are better at that than me anyway (my only photo of the night is one of the gravel) – and as if I need to check Facebook…I think not.
May I also suggest that people drop their phones on the floor a few times to achieve the artistically cracked look that I have on my new Samsung Galaxy S3.  I have a unique looking phone that nobody will want to steal because the sell-on value is much reduced thanks to the smashed screen.  Or get insurance.  Or just leave anything you don’t need at home.
And look after each other.

A super enjoyable night overall, would definitely repeat it, worth an 8.5 out of 10.  Maybe even an 8.7.

By the way, the gravy-topped dessert was disgusting.

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.