By the time September rolls around, I’m normally ready to see the back of Ibiza for a few months, especially after travelling there more times per season than your average flight attendant. But as winter turns to spring in the UK, something inside me yearns to be touching down again at Ibiza’s (recently spruced-up) airport. I write this with just 5 days to run until the opening party of Judgement Sundays 2012, and needless to say the whole team is giddy with anticipation.
This season witnesses arguably our biggest line up to date, which promises to keep us ahead of the pack as the resort of San Antonio’s busiest night by far. Enough of me trying to flog it to you, check it for yourself via our spanking new Judgement Sundays website, www.judgementsundays.co.uk!
The first outing covered by this report was to the famous Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheik on 16th April. It was my first visit to Sharm – I’ve travelled to Egypt five times, but to Hurghada and Cairo only. Egypt holds a special place in my heart, as in 2002 I played one of the most memorable gigs of my career. It was a one off open-air show right at the foot of the pyramids of Giza; truly an amazing backdrop. I remember spinning Warrior – X to 2000 clubbers with the Sphinx in the background. Surely DJing doesn’t get more surreal and spectacular than that.
Flying into Sharm can be done one of two ways. You can either travel business class via Cairo or go direct with EasyJet. Bearing in mind that it’s a 5-hour flight from the UK, EasyJet wasn’t my first choice. However, I never want to spend more time away from home than necessary, so I decided to stop being a diva and plucked up the mental stamina for 5 hours of EasyJet legroom crampage. On arrival into Sharm I should have gone straight to sleep, considering that the next morning I was due to fly immediately back to the UK via Cairo after no sleep, but as usual, football managed to disrupt my life. I stayed awake to watch Arsenal before I hit the decks. The gig was open air within a vast complex and the crowd was bang up for it. I managed to capture a few pictures, which you can find in the ‘Gallery’ section of the site. Following my set, I had just enough time for an hour’s nap before it was time to head back to the airport. The one beauty about flying home via Cairo was the long haul Egyptair flat-bed seat from Cairo to Heathrow. Very much needed after 5 hours of EasyJet on the outbound, and I was out like a light the moment we left the ground.
On Monday 23rd, my road manager Pete and I headed down to Bournemouth for a regular feature in my planner, and a gig that I always look forward to, at V club. It’s one of the most successful student events I do. The venue is a disused Church, which is visually spectacular and creates fantastic acoustics, designed, as it was, in an era before the invention of amps and speakers. There are certain gigs in the diary that never fail to meet expectations and V club is very much one of those. I’ve always loved Bournemouth, as the large student population makes it a great party town.
In 1997, when Princess Diana died I was DJing in Glasgow at the Tunnel. Just like 9/11, it’s one of those historical moments when you remember where you were at that precise time. On Friday 27th April I played that very same club, which brought back plenty of memories. When it happened in ’97, I remember watching the events unfold on Sky News on a huge projected TV screen after the crowd had left and the lights were turned up, alongside other stunned staff members at The Tunnel.
Suffice to say that on this occasion at the Tunnel nothing as extreme happened. It was unusual not playing an Inside Out night, the brand that normally takes me to Glasgow, but since their downscaling of events I’ve been exploring one or two different avenues in my favourite British city outside of London. If there’s one thing the Scottish are good at it’s making a noise. Also, it seems to be a Scottish tradition to occasionally throw things at the DJ as a token of appreciation of a particularly good mix. A little strange, but if travelling around the world had shown me one thing, it’s to embrace each culture, however loopy.
Saturday 28th was a double header. First it was up to Scarborough for a regular event hosted by The Squatters. I don’t often play a more housey orientated set, outside of my under-the-radar backroom offerings in Ibiza season, but The Squatters are fellow JS residents and their events are always on the money. I had a great time with boys, only wishing that there was more time to socialise after my set. We had to hit the road for the 1hr 30min journey to Burnley. There were plenty of people I knew at The Loft too, and it’s always nice to catch up with old friends. After a long night on the road it was the worst of all sleep scenarios for a DJ’s back. A contorted sleep home in the passenger seat on the motorway.
The next outing was on Saturday 5th May, to Skopje in Macedonia. It was also FA Cup Final day, and the promoter wasn’t in the best of moods as his team (Liverpool) were losing miserably. Fortunately he’d cheered up by the time his excellent party came around a few hours later. The event, a ‘white party’ at the Metropolis Arena, had around 5000 white-clad clubbers in attendance. I played after Germany’s Tom Novy, who I hadn’t seen around for quite a few years. The atmosphere was awesome, and made the four hour car journey that followed to the airport in the Greek city of Thessaloniki seem totally worthwhile. According to the promoter, the Greeks and the Macedonians have been arguing about use of the name ‘Macedonia’ for many years, and it is hindering Macedonian efforts to join the European Union. Just to explain – Macedonia is both a country in its own right and a region of Greece. At the airport in Greece I paid for some breakfast with Euros, wondering how much longer Euros would remain the Greek national currency.
The next day was May Day Bank Holiday Sunday in the UK, containing another double header. Both gigs were within 30 miles of each other, but neither conflicted with the other crowd-wise. Our first port of call was to the South Coast town of Eastbourne. Club Tonic is a venue I’d played before when it was known as ‘Function Rooms’. Pete and I arrived early enough to catch up with friends and pose for pictures etc. The club was loud and busy, and following my set we hit the road straight away to head over to Brighton’s H-Club. The trancey event was promoted by colleague and friend Tristan D. It’s nice to play a dark underground club with low ceilings and crowd very close-by. H-Club definitely ticked all those boxes. Also on the line-up was Corderoy, with whom I’ve just finished a track with called ‘Give Me A Reason’, forthcoming on Vandit as my next single. Following the demolition of a bottle of Grey Goose with Tristan and co, we hit the road back to London. Two great gigs and a smile from ear to ear.
On Wednesday 10th May I was booked to play an event which I’ve done for most of the past few years. I travelled the 1-mile journey to the Emirates Stadium in London for the Arsenal end of season charity ball. Being an avid Arsenal fan, you can imagine how much this means to me. Not only getting to have dinner with all the players, but getting to DJ for them too. I played completely different music to what I’d normally spin, but did it for the love. Tristan D followed me on the decks and a very short stumble home followed.
Not many people travel from London to Los Angeles for a day, but when it comes to mad itineraries I’m a proud member of the crazy club. On Saturday 18th May I hit LA to play the legendary Vanguard for Spundae. I’ve got a long association and relationship with Spundae and I always love playing in LA. TV Rock were on before me on the decks and plenty of LA based mates were in attendance. The next day, I had just enough time to visit the Beverly Center mall before bouncing back to LAX for my flight home to London.
On Friday 18th May I played a student event at Brunel University. It was their end of term ball and everybody was in a party mood. I’m just finishing some law studies myself and I’m well and truly ready to throw those books out of the window, so I could empathise with how the crowd was feeling. The DJ on before me was Betamaxx and he combined his DJ set using Traktor with a fully integrated video show on a big screen behind the decks. This was a rare skill and was amazing to watch- it’s unusual to witness a DJ doing something completely different.
The next day I drove back to LHR once again. This time it was to head over to Helsinki, Finland to play a Cream Ibiza tour event at Circus. Jumping off the plane, I was keen to know where I could watch the Champions League final, but the promoter seemed to know much more about ice hockey. In the end, they had it on pay TV in my hotel room, in Finnish. The venue was huge and packed wall to wall. I had an awesome time and could have carried on playing well beyond when I was due to finish, but another DJ was on after me, and breaching DJ etiquette is not the done thing!
Every now and then you do something that takes away any confidence you have in your own mental state (well, I do anyway….) On Thursday 24th May I was booked to play in Salou, Spain. I keep my passport in the same pocket in my backpack everywhere I travel, but somehow on my travels I managed to lose it. I only discovered this at the airport, and you can imagine my stress levels. There was nothing that could be done at such short notice and for the first time in my DJ career I had to cancel due to me misplacing my passport. Thankfully, a replacement has now arrived and another date for Salou is being slotted in the diary as we speak. Very sorry to anybody who was disappointed that night – I certainly was.
The final outing covered by this instalment was the London pre-party for Judgement Sundays 2012. It took place in conjunction with the Gallery at the legendary Ministry Of Sound. First up, I played a funky set in the ‘Pukka Up’ branded second room, and then it was all about the main room, alongside John O’Callaghan, Simon Patterson & Tristan D. The MoS was packed wall to wall and it was a moving prelude to Judgement Sundays Ibiza. I recorded my set, which is available by clicking on the ‘Mix Sets’ section of the site. You can also download mixes stretching back 10 years.
As I said in the opening paragraph to this report, I couldn’t be more excited for Judgement Sundays 2012. If you’re planning a visit to the white isle then let me know, I’d love to hear about your plans email@example.com. See ya there!
More next time…