October turned out to be a grim month on the radio front. Aside from the final death throes of London’s Choice FM as it was fully absorbed into Capital Xtra (which Ewen Ramsbottom goes into in this Black Sheep Mag Hoof To The Head ) the news came on Wednesday 2nd that OX105FM had gone out of business. There were many factors at work, including economics and background politics. Either way, it was a big disappointment, as the station had great potential, and the 25 or so of us specialist DJs all lost our radio outlet overnight. I greatly enjoyed presenting my Sound Of Now show on Saturday evenings for a year and a half.
On a brighter note, the stage is all set for the launch of The People’s Voice on-line TV and radio network on 18th November. TPV is going to totally switch up the media game by offering news, current affairs and artistic stuff, only with added truth and integrity (!) and the atmosphere is tingling with anticipation as the countdown continues. I feel very privileged to be presenting a weekly two-hour showcase of conscious music, on a show by the name of The Sound Of Freedom. Keep checking this site for much more information on that front in due course.
On Saturday 5th, I called into TPV’s HQ in Wembley to meet the team, and stuck around for a open day session, where a bunch of volunteers discussed the possibility of hosting their own phone-in show. My mate Bob ‘Insidejob’ Truther was in attendance, though minus his famous Disco Bike on this occasion. The hours flew by, leaving me just enough time to shoot back up the M40 to pick up my tunes and grab some food, then zoom straight back to London for a gig that night at Zefi bar and restaurant in Chelsea. It was the sort of spot where celebs and socialites hang out. I didn’t recognise any, but wasn’t greatly bothered. I returned to Zefi for another session at the end of the month.
A diverse weekend of movements and mismatched sleep patterns kicked off on Friday 11th as I took a rain-soaked drive deep into London. The journey from Oxfordshire to the West of the Capital took less time than the plod through town to Dalston, EC2, where I was spinning that night. DJ MP Marcus, previously of The Pesky Kids, had combined with DJ/ MC Rico, host of the long-running Soul Train nights in Prague, to bring a taste of those events to London. It took place at the undergound ReRoot Club, which had all the feel of an intimate party session. The all-star DJ cast included Big Twist, former Pesky Kid Mr. Penfold, and Marco De La Vega over from France. As such, I only played for an hour. The vibes were shaping up very nicely as I exited.
The early zoom home allowed for a measly two hours of sleep before heading out again to Luton Airport, for an early flight to Latvia, kicking off a three-day overseas jaunt. Arriving at 1pm, I headed straight to the Old Riga Palace Hotel. It comes highly recommended for anyone visiting, offering boutique-style comfort and fashion, with wi-fi, air con, a great breakfast, central location and amazing rates. (No, I’m not on commission, but wish I was.) Some more sleep took priority, before linking for a bite to eat and catch-up with Latvia’s finest and a good friend of mine, DJ Aiva. Aiva’s recently become a dad, so some swapping of parental tips and anecdotes punctuated an otherwise music-based conversation!
As Aiva departed for an out-of-town gig, I made my way to the Madhouse venue for a late set starting at 1.30am. The music policy was pretty much anything-goes, but sadly the venue wasn’t well-attended and closed at 5 – very early by European standards. You win some, you lose some.
I was out the door at 10am on Sunday, bracing myself for what turned out to be a very uncomfortable coach trip to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. The Eurolines bus had no wi-fi, power points or catering, and I was seated next to a couple of stocky, snoring middle aged Latvian skinheads who reeked of alcohol, nicotine, garlic, BO and fart in equal measure. Lucky me. To make matters worse the coach rolled into Vilnius late enough o miss my bus connection on to the airport. A frantic dash later, and I just made my flight with seconds to spare.
I was travelling on to Ukraine for my first taste of Kiev, (although, being vegetarian, not the chicken,) a place I’d long wanted to visit. First impressions on the bus in from Borispol Airport were of a huge, sprawling metropolis, made all the more confusing by the signs utilising the Cyrillic alphabet, and hardly anyone speaking English, (not that I encountered, at least.) I got very lost trying to find my hotel, eventually managing via some primal map reading and spatial ability, and celebrated by going out for a meal and a beer, followed by the best night’s sleep I’ve had in weeks.
Some sightseeing was on the agenda the following day, along with a lunchtime link-up with Bard, proprietor of Kiev’s Xlib Club, to discuss a future possible link. Kiev’s large enough to justify two airports, and I flew home from the smaller, Zhulyany.
The Good Vibrations podcast series has continued this month with a couple of instalments that I greatly enjoyed. Volumes 25 and 26 are a two-parter with fellow DJ Matt Sergiou, who runs the Conspiro Media blog site. Matt gets into some of the stranger and more intriguing aspects of the music industry, suggesting the influence of the Hidden Hand. Pink Floyd, the Laurel Canyon commune of California, Jay Electronica and Lauryn Hill get discussed this time round. Volume 27 is with the brilliant Neil Sanders, who gets into the subject of mass mind control through the media, and particularly the music business. I recommend a listen to both by anyone who likes to apply critical thought to what’s presented to them, and both can be heard or downloaded from:
Now that our four-year-old Zaina has started at big school, we’re restricted to going away during scheduled school holidays only, so the Devlins headed away for the Half Term break to a Haven holiday park near Chichester, staying in a caravan. The old joke about the kids having a holiday and Mum & Dad coming along too very much applied.
… and that was October.