02 August 2004

Delighted to make the acquaintance of Mr. Kek-W, first discovered lurking in my comments box. Turns out he's recently started a blog - the rather wonderful Kid Shirt. I've been greedily working my way through his archives and am definitely feeling some strong affinity. A fellow West Country lad too. On the international scale of blogginess, we're practically next door neighbours! His latest post on the Sudan Crisis is a gut-wrenching reality check - what are we all doing worrying about the minutiae of popular culture when there's people dying in the world?! This isn't an area I want to respond to in any depth here, as Gutterbreakz was always meant to be a playground where I could revel in the 'fun stuff' and forget about the world's problems - like Terrorism, Global Warming and Credit Card Bills - but suffice to say I hear what you're saying, fella, and now feel slightly foolish and worthless discussing anything as banal as pop music. Nevertheless, one must plough on. A few of Kek's recent threads I'd like to expand on...


I seem to have amassed a surprising amount of the damn things too, on account of being a regular Mirror reader and also being given all the Daily Mail ones by my Gran (bless her right-wing little heart). It's a phenomenon that's been fascinating/annoying me for some time, but it hadn't even occurred to me to compose my thoughts on the matter into a coherent piece for the blog. Thankfully, Tha Kekster's on the case. I guess the reason I'm hoarding these freebies is because I think they might come in useful next time I DJ at a wedding....

"Someone asked me to play at their wedding though".

Yeah, it's nice when that happens, eh? Years ago, I fancied myself as a decent left-field techno DJ, beat mixing stuff like Polygon Window's "Quoth" with Bandulu's "Presence" at obscure little clubs in central Bristol, back when there was a left-field techno scene here. These days, all I seem to do is supply the sounds for friend's weddings, house parties, Xmas do's and the like. I enjoy the discipline of creating an interesting mainstream set. I've been waging a one-man war on shit wedding DJ's for some time now. Although I recently turned down the first ever offer of a paying gig. I'm worried I'll lose my edge if I start accepting money for my services. My specialist area is mainstream '70s disco/soul, which always goes down well. Examples: Earth Wind & Fire, Heatwave, Tina Charles, The Emotions, Gloria Gaynor, Donna Summer, Barry White, The Stylistics, Van McCoy...I love all that stuff anyway, so it's always a pleasure, never a chore. Depending on the occasion and vibe, I've been known to drop in a half-hour of old skool Hip Hop, Punk & New Wave sets, 2 Tone sets, whatever I think I can get away with. Turn-of-the-nineties Indie-dance stuff like "Loaded", "The Only One I Know" and "Step On" usually work with my crowd too, and I've played out the Stone Roses' "I Am The Resurrection" on many occasions. It's always a great feeling when I spin something like The Pixies "Here Comes Your Man" or The Fall's "Mr. Pharmacist" and get drunken revellers coming up and showing their appreciation - it's like they can't believe they're hearing this sort of quality at a run-of-the-mill wedding reception. It's not like I'm playing anything particularly radical, merely that people have become conditioned to expect the DJ to play a load of bollox at these events. Once they realise I'm not an asshole, people start coming up to me and asking "don't suppose you've got any Spiritualized, mate?". Of course, there's always some pissed-up wench who gets irate when I refuse to play "Y.M.C.A." or "Aggadoo", but I have my principles to uphold. I make exceptions when the bride requests Robbie Williams or Ronan Keating (both of whom I detest), because it's her big day and I'm not gonna mess it up for her. But as for the rest of the guests - fuck 'em if they can't take it. I also refuse to chat over or between songs. If there're any important announcements to make, I let a member of the entourage do it. I firmly believe a good DJ should remain invisible. If you get the music right, you don't need to give people verbal encouragement to enjoy themselves. The only time you'll get me on the mic is when I mumble "last orders at the bar, folks" near the end.

Recently, I did get to let off some steam when Big Dave B. invited me to do a guest spot at Recognise 4. I played 45 minutes of left-field electronica like Mr.76ix, Team Shadetek, Jimmy Edgar, Plasticman, Slaughter Mob and Chris Clark. The fact that there was hardly anyone there at that point didn't matter to me in the slightest, it was just great doing a totally selfish set and listening to my fave tracks pumping through a PA.

"The Casio SK1 was the first sampler I ever owned"

Casio SK-100

Oh Yesss. My first 'group' was a Casio project. Back in '88, me and my school buddy Neil were making trax with an SK-5 and SK-100. Thanks for bringing back some cool memories, Kek. Incidentally, many years later I sold my SK-100 to Pete Kember aka Sonic Boom, who covets the old Casios for their circuit bending potential. I wonder if it's actually appeared on any of his records?

Jigsaws, Toys, Comics

Love the way Kek unearths and revels in these fragments of childood ephemera. I hope Kek spotted the thread running between K-Punk and me on this subject back in March

Bringing SPK back on the agenda

Been thinking about them myself recently, too. More of which shortly...

Slagging off Morrissey and Paul Weller.

A totally valid pastime in my book.