Tiesto is back!? And so am i…

Hello!

Sorry it’s been a while since I last posted – in fact it was last decade when I was last here. I figured I would spend a bit more time living, instead of documenting every moment. These two things need to strike a balance, really.

During Christmas, I drove from London to Cornwall (5 hours!) to visit my family. Seriously needed something to keep me awake… and I found this:

Tiesto’s greatest hits: Magikal Journey: The Hits Collection 1998-2008

Superb! All the old favourites like “Lethal Industry”, “Adagio For Strings” and  “Love Comes Again”. At a snap price of £4.49 from Amazon.co.uk, it was mine. Tiesto has gone mainstream of late, fair enough to him. I will remember Tiesto by the tunes that defined him as a trance lord.

Jonny

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Cough

My throat is numb

It’s dry, it chafes, it hurts

Please do go away

Don’t let it be the curse

For tomorrow I could rejoice

In a juicey piece of pork

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DJ Report: Tiesto @ the O2 Arena

Make it a triple

Earlier this year, Tiesto hosted an intimate gathering at Indigo2. Unfortunately, I didn’t get my shiznit together and the opportunity became impossibility. After missing out, my goal of seeing Tiesto live three years in a row looked to be, very much in tatters.

Never doubt your heroes

Never doubt your heroes – and likewise their bottom line. With more fans to get on board, Tiesto returned to the main arena at the O2 to entertain a sell out 10,000+ audience – this time, me included. When fellow ravers began to tell me about Tiesto’s return to London, I knew he had become mainstream. Long time. Three years in a row, Tiesto… and he’s still searching for sunrise, his 7th in fact.

The venue

Friday had been an expected rush, with big room clubbing an ideal way to end a hard week’s work. The past month has been pretty sh*t actually. Behold the O2 arena, accessible by tube (Jubilee line) with a capacity of 20,000. Formerly the millennium dome (left to rot away in the docklands) – it has since been transformed to the ever so popular O2. All your favourite artists and bands have played at the arena – and now your favourite DJ’s.

The O2 is huge. The circular space with it’s exterior food and drink stalls emits a similar feeling to that of a football stadium. In terms of looks, the O2 is very industrial (as it’s surroundings), lacking the classical elements and appeal of Ally Pally (where Tiesto played in 2007).

The beats, lights and visuals

Supported by First State, Tiesto opened his set at 11.20am (earlier than expected!). ISOS7 was very much the theme of the opening mixes, with the odd classic weaved in (although far and few). Tiesto closed with Adagio for Strings and a confetti spray across the dance floor. Lighting and visuals seemed a little bright (squinting at a club WTF!) and less spectacular than the previous year. Pyrotechnics lacking somewhat – perhaps China saved them all for the Olympics. Tiesto vanished early at 4.30am – with Airbase taking rein of the decks. A bit premature for my liking – I was expecting to go all the way. People blatantly started leaving, which killed the mood totally.

6am, showered and in bed… 2 hours short of previous events and certainly not one for the record books. Still, the pics came out a treat:

Use protection in the clubs

Excessive action in the clubs can cause permanent hearing damage and tinnitus. The only sensible way to protect your ears whilst still have a banging time is to use ear plugs, such as the Etymotic ER20.

Feeling like a twat with rubber protection at a concert, I was mildly relieved to see another clubber flash his ear plugs during the molestation at the metal detection doors. Once plugged in, the volume was quite low and I wasn’t hearing a lot. However, once Tiesto came to the fore it got progressively louder and more lively. Deep into the night I thought I’d take the plugs out and have a listen. Quite a substantial difference in volume – I was shocked at the excessive noise without the rubber.

The main issues I noticed with the plugs is that conversation is difficult (voice needs to be more directional into the ear piece) and they get slightly itchy. Or my ears are just plain dirty.

Cost:

  • Tickets, main floor standing: £35 + £5 (fee) = £40.00
  • Pint of Becks (plastic cup): £3.70
  • Bottle of water from the bar: £1.80
  • Tub of Movenpick icecream: £3.00
  • All day breakfast (massive sausage + bacon muffin, 2x hashish browns, unlimited ketchup!): £6.50
  • Pair of ear plugs (Etymotic ER20): £8

Final mix

When Tiesto leaves early at 4.30am I do wonder if he’s planning on settling down. Hopefully not, as he’s still one of my highlights on my London calendar, for sure.

I haven’t blogged for a while, but the music always brings out the best in me – the urge to splurge.

PS: Tiesto’s podcast can be found here.

Nite.

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From one cross to another

Over the past month I’ve been hard at work doing what I enjoy, sampling London’s great dance and electro clubs. From innocent beginnings to uncontrollable desires, I’ve got the urge to splurge.

The clubs:

  1. Egg London (Kings Cross)
  2. Fabric (Farringdon)
  3. Heaven (Charing Cross)

Introducing DJ Mazz v.s. Jase of Base

April kicked off with mass kiwi injection, the return of DJ Mazz with support from Jase of Base. A short but crammed schedule, these guys toured some of Europe’s treats whilst sampling a taste of London life. London offers a lot to many people in many ways. Jase asked me why I’m still here – on paper it does seem quite cliche. “Travel, freedom and music”. I’m not sure he bought it but it does boil down to one thing – perusing what makes me happy. Maslow’s heirachy of needs describes the top tier of life as self-actualization – when humans reach for their potential. I’m still far from this point but London has given me the room to grow, most definitely.

Egg Club (Kings Cross)

Egg is described as cool and trendy, with three rooms split across two floors (the layout is a little confusing) including an outdoor area. I chose Egg as an ideal starting point for Mazz and Jase – not overly “doof doof” and hence accessible to the masses. Lighting and smoke was in good supply – as well as the JD and cokes. The classic all nighter; I had a grinding of a time. A bit of a trek to find the club however, at the top end of York Way.

Fabric (Farringdon)

Dubbed as the most famous club in London (the last remaining “superclub”), Fabric was very much an impromptu act courtesy of DJ Mazz (and some airport mishap). A nice way to pop my Fabric cherry. Fabric is well detailed with dark stairwells and plenty of social seating. Spatially, Fabric felt huge, with 3 floors and pill pushes a plenty (“pills pills pills”). Definitely a much harder club than Egg with an excess of sausage.

Heaven (Charing Cross)

An openly gay club (now popular regardless of sexual bias), Heaven was definitely a spirit of the moment adventure. Superbly situated in central London, Heaven offers three rooms with variety to please most musical tastes. A bit of an eye opener for the faint hearted and unwary, Heaven is a sweaty beast. Everyone does their own thing and the feeling is safe and fun, with a full dance team and good lighting effects. For the record, I went with a female friend and she protected me from the elements. Jase had more male fondling at Fabric, anyway.

Closing

All in all, a very productive and satisfying month. A few firsts. A few seconds. Plus a third. From Kings Cross to Charing Cross – there’s places to please everyone in London.

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The year is two thousand and eight

See you less… miss you more?

I thought i’d been away from bloggin’ for a short while… but not for a whole two months! Gau chor. I’m happy with my progress thus far.

Jan you ary

After a forgettable new years, 2008 would be the year to beat. I got some audio Cantonese lessons on my iPod – not the same appeal of Tiesto, but still good. 4GB into my MacBook, wah so cheap (hooray for play.com and free shipping!). Two days waxing my snowboard in the kitchen – cleaning, filling, waxing and finally buffing. Broke my tennis strings for the first time in 16 years – I’ve really arrived in the tennis scene now :) Visit to sunny (yet raining) Cornwall; fish and chips, London dim sum and the broccoli soup that took 45 minutes to arrive. The company was worth it, in any case.

Feb you ary

The official birth of my new team at work. I am the lo ban… lots of new skills and things I’m not accustomed too – managing people. I have the expertise and now finding the power to become an inspirational leader. Three day snowboarding excursion to Austria – interesting company. New Sennheiser cans HD202 – amazing value! Waitangi Day in London – a drunken orgie of kiwis, wont be there next year my god! Valentines day, 11 girls in one session… nice (thanks Chen, lol). Baby Jess turns 2. Mazza Wazza in London – Borough market and high street shops – quick fu*ks a plenty! Tiesto is Live @ Indigo2 – I missed out on tickets and guttered that it was such a small venue (I didn’t make it three years in a row). Proves I’m not die-hard enough? Went to a metal-indie club instead. Hmmm.

Mar chaz

More outdoor tennis (it is still winter mind you) and the new strings going strong. My hair stylist was on holiday and her replacement butchered me… so sad. More snow action this month and Birthdays a plenty. It’s two years in the don for me… the best two years so far and going strong (except when I was 10 year old cheeky little monkey). Moved office at work – I can see tennis courts from our floor. Will give them a bash this summer for sure. Keep your ears open for da fresh new sounds.

NITE

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A snowy mountain christmas

Christmas 2007, less classical than your regular – but snowy all the same. Nested high in the mountains of the French Alps, the four of us wished for one thing this Christmas… please Santa fill your sac with our delayed luggage! Santa delivered, and on the eve of Christmas, we got our shiny new snow hardware – it really did feel like Christmas. We were children again with our new toys! I must admit, I never wanted to grow up. Wait… I still haven’t. Wow, my board’s so shiny and fast!

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Previously

London airports ran manic leading up to the Christmas rush, delayed flights/baggage were a certainty and we were just helpless Eskimo pawns. Fortunate enough to get away on time, our luggage was stranded at London Gatwick for two full days of snow time.

Tignes, the resort

As a resort, Tignes (pronounced “Teen”) lacked character and colour. The runs were far from unique, rocky in parts and dispersed far and wide (meaning lots of walking and chair lifts). Many a day was spent on a chair lift. One or two runs were memorable, but overall, I doubt we’d return to Tignes ever again. And yes, the resort isn’t pretty, it consists of apartment blocks separated by dog shit covered snow and yellow ice. Foul.

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Gear

Having our baggage delayed, we needed to purchase a few essential items to get us on the slopes for a decent ski holiday. New gloves (€69), pants (€89), socks (€20), helmet (€85) and later crash pants (€99) were necessary kit. Uncannily, I managed to break buttons and stitching on almost all items of new kit purchased. The butt protector on my crash pants was popping from the seams before I even hit the ice! Dang. Some special ability. I also broke a door handle in the apartment (that I managed to melt back together – shhh!).

Rudolf-DJ and Rammy-J came out to play, on Christmas day:

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Food

We opted for the self-catering option this time round. It worked out slightly cheaper than fully-catered (£50 less), but for the effort and quality, fully-catered might be the way to go. As the dessert chef, I found myself without an oven, leaving me a little underdone. For my contribution, I cranked out some pancakes and a microwaved/grilled apple crumble. Brownies never got to see the light of day in Tignes. Accidentally I learnt how to make butter, by over-beating and hence splitting the cream.

We had a really fancy eat-out meal on the third night – Kangaroo Fillet and red wine for me! On receipt of our bill, we were given complementary shots – the spirit smelt and tasted like nail-polish remover, quite sick indeed (someone please tell me what it was – urhhh puke!).

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Owning your own hardware, an eye opener

On the surface, it seemed that the only pitfall of having your own gear is lugging it from A to B. Boy, was I wrong wrong wrong! Some things to know:

  1. Baggage can get delayed – bring essential items as hand carry (toothbrush, hand cream)
  2. Snowboards are really sharp and will pierce the bag that suppose to protect it (if not packed neatly)
  3. Winter sports insurance is a must, shit does happen
  4. Fixing the scratches and dents will take time and money… fun to come!

Am I ranting?

Kinda feels like it huh? I did enjoy snowboarding once again, especially for Christmas, but obviously a few things were out of place and we had to make do with what we had. On a brighter note, we’ll be prepared for our next snow adventure…

Cost analysis:

  • Flight, accommodation and ski pass: £469
  • Food: £100

Total cost for 7 nights: £570 (excluding hire and hardware purchases)

NY’s is just around the corner… NITE!

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Cologne’s five spices of christmas

A short excursion to Cologne in Germany, gave me a taste of xmas and it’s splendid offerings. Sunny and crisp (2 degrees during the day), the only downer was our rank smoky hostel. One night and a short day nap was enough to energise our bodies for 48 hours of walking, eating and drinking. Berocca was also a useful aid.

1) Printenmann – Christmas biscuit (€1.50)

Our first encounter was a seasonal German biscuit – it was hard, spicy and hard to digest. The taste, also known as traditional “Chinese five spice”, was odd, to put it nicely. We quickly moved on to more flavourable treats…

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2) Krakaur – 12″ spicy sausage (€3.00)

Along with Bratwurst, the Krakaur sausage was very tasty and accessible to all market goers. Sweet yet spicy, we downed a few of these over the two days. Recommended for it’s taste and crunch. Treat.

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3) Waffles with cream and cherries (€3.00)

The cherries tasted as good as they looked, juicy yet not overbearingly sweet. A subtle touch of cinnamon; the cream, fluffy and light. Treat.

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4) Mulled wine (€5.00 including mug)

Super fresh, hot mulled wine (served in unique mugs) gave a good kick to cut the evening chill. Gotta love that warm alcoholic aroma. We also sampled a hot honey wine, less fragrant but easier to drink/inhale. Treat x2.

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5) Brataphel – hot baked apple with Marzipan filling (€3.30)

Straight out treat. Only served in West Germany, the Brataphel is a hot baked apple with a nutty almond, raisin and cinnamon filling. Covered with custard and cream, the texture was soft, tangy and uniquely Christmas.

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So there you have it! Very simple, very fulfilling. Very tasty. My five spices of Cologne. Merry xmas!

Cost analysis:

  • Accommodation: £20 (1 night, hostel)
  • Flight and all transport: £104 return

Average daily expenditure / food (exc. travel and accommodation): £21

Total cost for two days: £170.00 (€237.00)

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