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PAULETTE ALWAYS LOVED DOING RADIO THEN THIS HAPPENED

By | Manchester, NEWS, RADIO, Uncategorized | No Comments

Fancy waking up with me next week from Monday to Thursday? Well you can! I will be joining Mr Gorgeous – Chris Holliday and standing in for the fabulous Emma Goswell on THE WORLD’S BIGGEST GAY RADIO STATION – Gaydio. Hear me blah blah blah-ing and bantering on the Breakfast Show next week from Monday to Thursday (19-22 September). The show is live on air from 07am – 10am so join us on 88.4FM, online via www.gaydio.co.uk, DAB or the Gaydio and Tune In apps. You can tweet and facebook us too and keep us pirouetting on our pointy toes.

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HOW TO KILL A DJ – CHAPTER 4 PT. 2

By | article, blog, club nights, clubbing, cultural, DJs, empowerment, herstory, history, Ibiza, memory, Music, nightclubs, original, quote, social, Uncategorized, work, writing | No Comments

Saturday October 3rd

TO EXCEL, NOT COMPETE

 

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WORD OF THE DAY (Collins 2008)

PASADO

ADJECTIVE

Past, Bad, Overdone, Out of date

NOUN MASCULINE

Past, Atelier

Noun

A Workshop or studio, especially of an artist, artisan or designer

 

The opening notes of Otis Redding’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ are playing in my head. Since I was small I have had music playing in my head 24/7 and it always carries a predictive message. At times it feels like I have a  prophetic Wurlitzer – all ‘Simon’ flashing lights and chrome – perched on my shoulders where my head should be.

First phone call of the day involves some ‘misunderstanding’ with work. The Voice is shouting at me because I have got the wrong end of the broomstick. I have NEVER been booked for the party that I have had blocked in my diary for three months since it was first discussed.  I say that I have turned down other offers to do this party. ‘That’s stupid. The Voice says ‘Why would you turn down two paying gigs to do this?’ I reply ‘ Call me loyal but I’m a first come, first served person and I always keep my word. ’ I go into detail about the original booking. The Voice stops shouting. Then there’s silence as the penny drops. Voice rushes off to make some calls and when Voice calls back the tone is upbeat, enthusiastic and apologetic. There’s no money in it though. Alfredo has taken the budget.

For the record, I have a minor cob on. It’s true that none of this matters in real life but that doesn’t stop me wanting to crawl into a hole or eat chocolate and ice cream until my jeans don’t fit. I dream of kicking back in LA. dressed casually for a date at The Ivy. I’m wearing huge Jackie O shades, sitting in the sunshine and dining with my literary agent.  In the dream we are celebrating signing the rights to this blog on to HBO studios for a pilot series. It’s going to be like Two Broke Girls but with one dj and based in Ibiza. A dream is a wish your heart makes.

 

 

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I snap out of the reverie by jousting with the two washing machines outside on the upstairs terrace. There’s CL’s machine that has never worked but is in the way of mine which normally works but is throwing a post electrical storm strop. I hiss ‘if you don’t work I’ll break you down for Robot Wars’. It moves. Then it works. I have no doubt that it fully understood. I reckon you will never find David Guetta on his hands and knees covered in suds and dirt and terrace guana, brandishing a spanner, a stanley knife and an iphone in full ‘Ask Jeeves’ mode. No I bet you never will but welcome to my single Ibiza life.

I have waited in all day to go to Space Closing with my friend who – at 2pm – is still on the missing list. He has bleached and rinsed it at Amnesia and Bora Bora and only hits his bed for a quick siesta at 3pm.  So much for the ‘let’s go early to Space Closing and side-step that difficult guest list’ plan. I’m well pissed. Then, out of the side of my eye, I catch a news bulletin about Roseburg, Oregon where people have died in the 45th campus shooting this year. I feel ashamed and petty for being childish and shallow so fill my (now) party-free time by doing something positive and planning my upcoming trip to London instead. It is booked and confirmed for the beginning of November and I have set up a radio interview and mix with Sophie Callis at Soho Radio, three radio interviews for a DMC World Magazine feature with Cocoa Cole, Horsemeat Disco and Josey Rebelle, one gig at Housewife and one lecture at the University of Westminster. No matter what else happens today I have some interesting work to do this winter.

When I go to meet my friends for the Heart Closing Party everyone – except me  – is late.  Waiting alone outside Downtown Cipriani’s AT THE AGREED MEET TIME, I see that it is already closed for the winter.  Whatsapp group alerted, we agree to meet at Prince but your woman on the ground checks and finds that this is also closed for holidays. More waiting. I walk half the length of the Avinguda d’Ocho Agosto in Rita Ora’s evening dress and gold strappy sandals only to stand out like Wilhelmina No Mates at ‘dressed-down-every-day’  I-Pizza until they arrive. Four pizzas, a few beers, some w(h)ines and loads of chat later and  we’ve frittered away our valuable free entry / no queueing time.

 

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In the approach to Heart, the empty doorway that sported a clutch of golden egg, queue-jump ticket holders when I first passed by at 10pm now looks like the Stock Exchange trading floor. My heart sinks like a stone. Everyone is waving something, trying to catch the eye of someone important who knows someone who works there who knows someone they might know who runs or owns it but that someone is doing their damnedest to avoid all eye contact. It takes a good half an hour to get to the front of this queue only to find that only one of us is on the list and that’s the late-comer who was responsible for sorting out the guest list for all of us. Awkward. She goes in to find someone to help us get to the front of the paying queue. No pressure for her then. And more waiting for us. Damian Lazarus arrives – I try ‘the friendly chat’ ruse but he is rolling with a sizeable entourage. His ‘plus-sized’ guest list forcefield is fully engaged. Happily, our friend succeeds. We smile as we are each charged 25 euros entry. It is a nicer club, with a stylish older crowd and great music. We stay, we pay, we play.  At least we get in. Many don’t.

It’s kicking inside as Damian Lazarus is in back-to-back flow with Acid Pauli.  Theirs is a strong sound full of dark techno shadows and the dancefloor is heaving and kinetic. Heart clubbing is a world away from the k-hole walking, shuffling zombies or cake throwing and stage diving (into the crowd in an inflatable raft) antics of Ibiza. It’s a great closing party.

 

Wednesday October 7th

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Mehdi Dressy

Scroll down to see new messages.

 

Chat conversation start

You’re friends on Facebook

Boss at Mehdi Dressy

Lives in Balham, London, England

8 minutes ago

https://www.facebook.com/mehdi.elhabchi

Hi Paulette, hope you’re doing well today !

 

I take the liberty of sending you this email as I really want you to know this.

My name is Mehdi Dressy, DJ/Producer/Composer signed on Avant Garde & Space Invader Music (Joachim Garraud’s imprint label) & Warner U.S (for my producer part) to name a few, and I’m really glad you’ve accepted my friend request.

The reason why I’m sending you this email, is to thank you. Simply, and here’s the reason why.

I discovered a genre of music that moved me some years ago, which is house music, throughout many sources on internet, including during a special radioshow on Radio FG, which was yours. I was downloading a copy of your set every week on some forums and was blasting it in my student’s room back in time. With the time it became such an obsession for me, that I started by playing others music, then creating mine and come play it as well.

I am thankful to be able to live from my passion, to get recognition for my work from the simple listener to world class dj’s playing my music during festivals, and for that I want to thank you for your contribution to my musical education and self development.

With much respect,

Mehdi Dressy

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My soul has been lifted.

 

Wednesday October 7th

SELF ESTEEM, NOT SELF PITY

WORD OF THE DAY

Alexithimia

Psychiatry.

Difficulty in experiencing, expressing and describing emotional responses.

Started the day with yoga but cried throughout the session. Asanas can sometimes release energy in unusual ways. I roll with it and roll the mat up.

I’d feel much better if I could swim in the sea but I recently weaned myself off Talamanca beaches when I missed a red flag, swam for an hour then read about the ruptured sewage pipe in Diario d’Ibiza that afternoon over brunch. I thought I was going to die from toxocariasis and felt like I should be chanting ‘unclean, unclean’ and ringing a bell for weeks after. They say it could take years to clean that part of the coastline…

Another amazing email arrived encouraging me to value my past much more than I currently do.

From : ANDY H

TO :  Paulette

Subject : How’s It Going DJ Paulette ?

Hey Paulette,

 

In my seemingly old age, I have been going through all my old musical tastes and stumbled across loads of tracks that reminded me of when you used to DJ at the Zap in Brighton.

You may remember me, I used to carry your records now and again from the car to the club and vice versa, however, I was rarely in a fit state to do so!!!! ( I think you even left me a nice birthday message on the answerphone at me and my mates flat, which I was well happy about!).

Anyways, can you remember the sets you used to play?!?! I remember them and still make me smile. Been catching up with them all over again! Here’s a few classics that I can remember (it was over 20 years ago after all!)

Bobby Brown – 2 can play that game – k-klass mix THE BEST SONG DROPPED 🙂

Nutropic – I see only you

Solitaire Gee – Slumberland

Ina Kamoze – Here comes the hotstepper

Skee-lo – I wish I was a little bit taller

I can remember you used to rock the Zap!!!

There was another track you used to play and I can’t for the life of me remember what it was called, may have been something like the penguin orchestra or something but it had the massive drum and bass break in the middle?!?! Any memory of it? I’d love to find this one….

Glad to see your DJing is going so well too….

Might try and catch one of your sets if I go to Ibiza again.

Best,

Andy

Sent from Gmail Mobile

Hi Andy,

Thank you so much for this mail!  It really touched me.

Send me a picture please?  I can vaguely remember someone sweeping me into the club like a star, but I can’t put a face to you 🙁  I should be thanking you for the star treatment actually.

Records – funnily enough I have been playing a few of those out again this summer as I have been doing pool parties for Ibiza Rocks and Hotel Es Vive – Skee Lo – I Wish

 

and Ini Kamoze’s Here Comes The Hotstepper have pride of place in my sets in the sunshine.

I still love them – they are timeless party jams.  I remember I always dropped Skee-Lo into the Size 9 I Am Ready breakdown about 6 minutes in.

Solitaire Gee – also amazing. I hammered that record everywhere. I must fish that one out again.

 

I wish I could find my Bobby Brown vinyl as that is a timeless classic.

 

 

 

WORD OF THE DAY (Dictionary.com)

PARVENU

Noun

A person who has recently or suddenly acquired wealth, but has not yet developed the conventionally appropriate manners.

I receive an email from I-Safe advising that the insurance claim against the Municipale is unresolved and ongoing following the flood at the storage unit. I’m not totally au fait with road names so when the freak storm hit last August it didn’t register that my storage unit was located on the flood ravaged Avenida de St Joan de Labritja. Nor did I connect that it was the self-same FITA / Eroski road connecting Talamanca to Jesus that I couldn’t drive down because it was closed due to water running like a fast moving two feet deep ravine. It’s only a bit of rain the residents said. The storage unit stayed closed and did not answer calls for two weeks. When eventually they allowed people entry we were told that the sewage pipe under the street had ruptured and that some of the units had been affected. One of the worst affected units was mine. Oh yes. That insurance claim.

 

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My unit was waterlogged. Around 2,500 units of vinyl had been ruined and all the sleeves water damaged. Everything in the unit was covered in mud and silt, disgusting and slimy to handle and heartbreaking to hold. The management of I-Safe were unsympathetic. ‘Can’t you just stack them in boxes’ said Kathy. She has no concept of what water, silt, glue and sand actually does to vinyl when it dries or with friction when stacked sleeveless, loose and dirty in a box. No concept of what it means to leave them in this state until the loss adjusters can be bothered to come and view the damage. And no concept of the emotional attachment to and the financial value of the original sleeves to a collector. To I-Safe they are just records that have got a bit wet that can be dried out with a heater. Yes really.

 

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In other better news, Barclaycard have credited my card with what is now a handsome sum after the ongoing non delivery and general jiggery pokery of my Visa card. It’s hard getting a simple letter delivered to my address because CL (my crazy landlady) has lost the key to the vandalised letter box, the entryphone doorbell doesn’t work and lots of businesses (especially banks) will not deliver to a PO Box. To sidestep this, Barclaycard are going to deliver my new card to my UK address on Friday October 9th. Yes. My mum will be at home to take the delivery.

… TO BE CONTINUED

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HOW TO KILL A DJ – CHAPTER 4

By | blog, cultural, herstory, memory, positivity, property, rental, social, Uncategorized, writing | No Comments

OCTOBER

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When I say I haven’t decided what I want to do yet this does not mean that I don’t know where I want to live or be in 2016. I said I was tired not stupid. Of course I want to live here, in Ibiza. What’s not to love about living in Jesus? . Like every savvy Ibiza resident knows, at certain times of the year, island rentals are a feeding frenzy so the A1 golden rule is to secure your accomodation in advance preferably long before the summer silly season kicks in (before the end of March). Get your luvverly accomodation for the next year confirmed, signed and sealed before the end of the preceding season and you’re laughing. The lucky few who bag a beautiful bargain (without paying a six month deposit upfront) in the Holy Grail transfer window between the middle and the end of October are viewed with emerald eyed envy. The struggle is real here. Most long lets get snapped up like a gushing, mutilated leg in a shark pool and generally before the ink is dry on the ‘Anuncio’ page in Diario D’Ibiza. Those who are on a tight(er) budget find a ton of roomies (generally up the West End) and split the cost handsomely. 256 different ways to do the washing up or to go Dutch, French, English, Spanish, Italian or all of the above. All of them present and correct.

Me? I have this on lock. I met my English eccentric ever-so-slightly alcoholic landlady for a tapas lunch at a deserted La Vineria, on the Carrer Cap Martinet at the end of June when we agreed the terms for my contract and keys to Castle Grayskull.

 

 

My landlady greeted me looking angelic in a white, gypsy dress, heavy boots and her blonde hair worn up in that tousled, elder stateswoman way. She was demolishing her second large glass of wine as I sat down. As she ordered her third, she said ‘let’s get this out of the way, then we can eat’. I had been dreading this chat so was surprised when she offered me a contract to keep the apartment for another year. Golden ticket? Tick it! She said that she really likes me and wanted to help. Tick that too. Could I accept different terms? Rental seasons being what they are and her being a lady of leisure with no regular source of income, I knew I was looking at a serious price hoik. Brace yourself…

She was nervous about giving me another contract. There is a loophole in Tenants’ Rights legislation here that keeps a tenant in place for up to five years if a contract is renewed long term to the same tenant beyond the first year. Since she is trying to sell the apartment, this loophole is a worry for her. In order to combat this, the rent was being raised to a constant winter fee of  1200pcm, rising 200€ to 1400pcm  from May to October. Vertically steep for one person. In fact it was 400 euros pm more expensive than the rent I had been paying on my flat in Paris when I left in 2013. That’s Paris. A metropole. With a strong transport infrastructure, museums, shops and everything.  If I overstayed the contract end date she threatened me with murdering me in my bed. Normal. I laughed like I was the only person in the audience at a bad Comedy Store gig.

I have a good – and relatively long memory. Logic and reason tell me not to fuck with mad alcoholics. I remembered the house call last year. She had popped round to see ‘how I was settling in’ but really came to calm down in her own apartment after having made an unwarranted house call to ‘that Jonathan’. He wasn’t home but she threatened his girlfriend with a kitchen knife with a four inch blade just to make sure (she took this out of her pocket demonstrate). I’d only been in the flat two weeks. She told me that Jonathan was the previous tenant who had left her apartment in tatters with denuncios flowing like ticker tape (the neighbours say he was running Girls from his private parties. I had wondered what the chains in the wardrobe were for). Anyway, he had left owing three months’ rent which she was determined to recoup. That she would go to such lengths just to get the rent arrears did not sit well with me. We Capricorns can take life and living just a bit too seriously I suppose.

The apartment is not Ibiza Town prime real estate but it is in a respectable, developing location. Turn a blind eye to its basic, ok cheap furnishings and you know it is worth a bit. It has plenty of space for my dj equipment slash studio, has a guest bedroom for family or friends, is bright, airy and modern and rent-wise was not breaking the bank for a three bed in Talamanca. Even though the heating falls short when Ibiza drops the ‘pissed-wet-through to the clothes in your wardrobe and sheets on your bed’ humid fog and the boiler needs resetting every time the wind blows (which is a lot in Talamanca), it is big, airy, bright, modern, warm and dry and has a lift, a roof terrace with a 360° view and garage space. I could get comfortable here.

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Like christmas toy batteries, bills were no longer to be included. The disappointment was Christmas present same.There was to be no sub-letting. Not that this was something I had ever done, but it would  have been nice to have the option. This is the key income source that all of my friends exploit to pay their rent through the fallow winter months. Odds stacked up, condition by condition, what was once a decent deal was starting to stack higher against. Still, I loved the apartment; looked after it like a boss and was a model tenant. I assured her that the next year would be equally trouble free. I always pay my rent on time – how could it not be?

Freak of the week. CL massaged my feet to clinch the deal. WTF? Boundaries???! This foot massage is over-familiar territory even for family. Understand that it’s not easy to run when someone has your feet clamped in a vice-like grip before you’ve touched your tiramisu. Best to relax. Let it happen. The ‘Welcome to your new home again’ speech that followed this random activity was thus music to my ears. CL promised me that once her family visits and daughter’s university choice were out of the way we would visit her Gestor to sign the contract. The date was set for the end of September. Reassured, I chose to ignore her sniffing her hands when she’d finished.

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Call me crazy for trusting CL and her fancy foot massage. I fully accept and assume responsibility for the incoming fuck up. So confident was I that we had made a solid verbal agreement that I took my eye off the ball. I forgot that something about this island – maybe the Es Vedra ley lines, maybe the population of gypsies, tramps, brigands, pirates and thieves – makes a mockery of written agreemements. And, schoolgirl error #2, I forgot that spoken arrangements count for nothing, especially where money is concerned. Everyone prefers to be paid in the tax and question-free black so there are no guarantees here. Nothing is ever as sorted as you expect. Not even your drugs. What I’m trying to say is that it’s easy to make a legitimate tenant disappear overnight. Without a contract you have no rights, your landlord (or landlush) can ask you to leave or throw you out as and when they want and with no notice served.

One week into October and I am all out of excuses. No phone calls or IMs are being made or answered and we haven’t signed any official papers.

 

img_3483… to be continued

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HOW TO KILL A DJ – PART 3

By | article, blog, club nights, clubbing, dj'ing, DJs, herstory, Ibiza, memory, Music, nightclubs, original, positivity, psychological, quote, social, Uncategorized, writing | No Comments

TO BE USEFUL NOT USED

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 26TH

Shake it off yeah, just like Taylor Swift. So shower. Then join me on Saturday evening in the Treehouse at the Zoo Project at Gala Night, Benimussa. From the decor to costumes to the dancers to the artisans, the healers and the djs, this is one of my favourite outdoor party locations and despite predictable (insufferable) San An snobbery, I always enjoy the vibe here. It’s like a one day festival, an Skittles-eque rainbow of fruit flavours and a youthful and also very London/Berlin/Tokyo feast for the senses. It makes my weekly bracelet / no bracelet run-in with the door inquisition worthwhile. Being looked after like a sister by Ady, (aka Adrian Brown – possibly the most attractive and stylish man on the island bar none) also means that a Zoo trip is simply made of win. (Happy birthday big man!)

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I’m holding my ground in an unofficially designated two inches of personal space, behind the Treehouse DJ Booth. Maribou State are creating one of those ‘had to be there’ sets that is defying categorisation. I am wedged next to Chandler who has his Pulse Radio head (and ears) on but has made zero effort to comply with the general Zoo Project dress code and no matter how hard I squint doesn’t look animalistic enough underneath a simple felt bowler hat. Enraptured and inspired by the music, my L’Oreal black felt eyeliner becomes a weapon of crass construction. Wielding it like a crazed surrealist painter, I decorate Chandler’s face with an off-kilter cat nose and Dali-esque whiskers. He is game to be big game but only because it’s an eyeliner pen and not a full make up kit and I’ve promised that it will wipe off with a bit of spit and a hanky. It doesn’t. Why would I have bought it if it did. Tick for L’Oreal. Shit for Chandler. I wouldn’t normally push my limited make up artist skills on anybody but since I am wearing head to toe leopard print and a lizard topped head band (thankyou Milou) Chandler gets it. Fairplay to him, the nose and whiskers are a strong look for any ex-Marine.

The Zoo Project is like that and a whole lot of fun. Enjoying the extravagant costumes and body art, marvelling at Kyle’s hyper-diamantéd denim jacket and assorted ties and jackets, loving Milou’s cheeky, wild creations and rocking to the best in cutting-edge music here is a weekly pilgrimage. Even the weekend when Spencer Parker finishes his set with ‘Boys, Boys, Boys’ just being there keeps me happy, it keep, keep, keep, keeps me happy.

Over the chug and boom, chk, Chandler and I are shout-talking about our seasons so far and Ibiza in general. Chandler starts :

« You know … you are so awesome » he says this totally unprompted and unbribed by anyone including me.

« thank you » I say « I’m shocked and deeply touched… How much do I owe you ? »  (I suspect he may be high or tripping or loved up or something, so am covering my arse in a totally sincere but gently humouring ‘off it’ people voice.

« No really ? … » he continues, sensing my disbelief « I mean it. You are one of the reasons why I like to stay living in Ibiza. Regardless of the bullshit, it’s genuine people like you that keep me here.’

‘Me ? A genuine Ibiza person ? Are you sure ?’ I say

‘Yeah’ … he continues … ‘You fit in. Everybody says so’

Paradox. Paronoia. Paradiddle diddle. The cat and the fiddle. Just when I am starting to feel like the only outsider living a tits-up dream, his island ‘everybody’ thinks otherwise and have given me the double thumbs-up by some secret, illuminati vote. There’s nowt as strange as Ibiza residents. For a moment my ego is fiercely buffed, my rose-tinted spectacles polished to a gleaming sheen. The end of the night closes with Maribou State playing Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling Good’ – it gives me goosebumps so merits tweeting and instagramming.

Feeling good but can I get a witness – or a signal up in here? That would be a no. Gala Night is in the middle of some bizarre Bermuda triangulation between your phone, your wishes and your message transmitted on the three-legged donkey of spanish service providers. When the last piece of confetti has fallen and the booth is cleared, I meet Sophie in the car park and we drive in convoy (and down the back roads to avoid the police check points around Gala Night) to Underground. We are way too early and it is way too empty so we stay for two then head to Ibiza Rocks at Pikes Hotel. I’m dj’ing plus it’s close-by so it would be rude for us all not to.

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 27TH

On Sunday morning I mostly give my yoga mat the roll out it deserves. I start the day with a nice long hatha session then head to Eroski to shop for barbecue things – tiger prawns, sausages, chicken breasts – all to be marinated before leaving. Sunday is all about celebrating Sophie’s birthday in Calamity Bassa. When I arrive, Brett, John and Mr Doris have already taken charge of all things sizzling on the griddle whilst the rest of us bring our dishes to the table. I chair hop putting the world to rights with Trish, Helen, Miss W, Debra, Sophie, John, Tina and Clare. We eat like rationing is over, and once Colin Peters’ finally arrives with his Traktor set up he blows us away with his legendary balearic blissfulness.

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Like a unicorn in an emerald glade, the subject of my work here reared its head once again, shimmied its mane then bolted for the clearing just underneath the red sun. Tonight I wasn’t the sole focus of the table chatter, there were at least five or six other stories in play at that time so when I locked on and locked in to the conversation that clanged, the words rose and flew like a murder of crows in my head but were quickly gone. I listened and graciously accepted the advice from all, logging and tagging every precious word, computing every possibility with Alan Turing-like precision. The best way to crack the code ?

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Colin leaves to play elsewhere and the entertainment becomes a comical laptop / iphone free for all.

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We are sharing all the love there is, musical, alcoholic, friendship and whatever else is on hand – all for the friendly buzz and not the high. The richest, stickiest cacao fig brownies gave everyone an addictive, spiritual hit. They were the perfect augur for an astrologically magical night where a full moon turned into some woah-trippy sky shit, morphing into an eclipse, then a blood moon and all shared sitting on the roof, reflecting and appreciating with some fellow sky-watching fiends.

When the boys pack up their laptops, I step in with the mix that I had just recorded for Michelle Manetti’s ‘Lipstick Disco’ site.

We dance into the dawn watching clouds take the shape of Mickey Mouse and soaking up a sunrise like a watercolour palette. We’ve been eating, drinking and talking all day. I am one over the eight, happy and exhausted and go to sleep, on the sofa in the landing unable to co-ordinate walking to the empty spare room which is right next door.

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Three hours later I am awoken by Sophie’s dogs, Lucky and Lucy, who are going crazy, jumping all over me, licking me and then sitting on my head. If only I had a boyfriend who was ever this delighted to see me, I think. Then I realise I can’t move out of their way because my neck has been savagely guillotined by the sofa arm rest. It’s time to find Helen, power up Sugar and head home … I have five hours to sleep before I play another 9 hour shift. God give me strength. Or a bullet. Or maybe just a rich husband.

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 28TH

WORD OF THE DAY

WAYWORN

WEY-wawrn, -wohrn

adjective

DEFINITIONS 1. worn or wearied by travel.

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After a long weekend of irregular eating I have just woken up with my forehead pasted to my keyboard. My brain apparently left the building and my body has been on pause after guzzling a home made breakfast burrito of spicy bacon beans and scrambled eggs with herbs. Anti-Hangry Measures must always be taken. I’ve been gifted with an AZERTY tattoo on my forehead and I am so tired and emotional that I have whatsapped Sophie for missing items that I later find are on the passenger seat of my car where I left them. I also keep crying at Best Vines of cats and babies. I can’t keep my eyes open to watch anything longer than a Snapchat or a looped GIF without experiencing a sense of deep hypnose. I can’t physically attend or even handle one more closing party (but Tuesday is Cocoon in Benimussa). The only closing party I can be bothered to attend is that of my bedroom curtains, and the horizontal lap of honour that will come when I clamp my eyelids tight shut. Bu-bye Ibiza. I have one more day to go and I am dragging my feet like Frankenstein. Besides, isn’t that … rain???? This funky mood is the culmination of weeks spent out on the work, rest and play tiles.

Yes, today is Monday and as Robert Frost once wrote, I have miles (or in my case another 36 hours) to go before I (can get some decent) sleep … So hi-ho, hi-ho it’s off to the Taller Pitiusos to get Sugar (my Volkswagen Golf) fixed (driver side wing mirror was clipped in the car park, b*st*rds never leave a note here!). Then I brave the downpour and drive like all four horsemen of the apocalypse (marvelling at five rainbows on the way), to play to the staff and the handful of weather-beating party people around Pikes Hotel Bar and Pool. It’s my last contracted day here: it seems fitting that ‘the end of the world as we know’ it weather matches this mood.

I feel disconnected like a satellite. Happy sad. It has been a great experience but when I get to the booth area and set up behind the decks there is no fanfare. Everyone is moody, talking about going home, being cold and moaning about the rain. The staff are on a downer because they – and everything – keeps getting wet, the Pikes Hotel pool area is a sodden ghost town and everyone who has braved the bar or restaurant is wearing jackets and jeans. No one is singing in the rain. A few are dancing at least, even if Winter is here before the summer has ended.

I play a great block party set travelling from Drake and Frank Ocean to Jocelyn Brown, Sharon Redd and First Choice and more without breaking sweat. Just as I am winding down to leave I am asked to play beyond closing hours because a rather lovely client (one obviously packing some clout) called Elliot has kept the bar open. Once I’ve finished I am introduced to the famous client, then pass the time by standing, distributing my weight from foot to foot (he is bloody tall) whilst propping up the bar in the Plaza Mayor and talking and drinking beer with Elliot aka Example until the early hours. I tell him I am blown away  by his latest single ‘Whisky Story’ and how much I loved the quirky video (which I can’t post – thanks Vevo!). He is totally nice in the face of my fangirldom.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j63FVR9KK_4

In return he tells me that has listened to my set from start to finish and we talk about music – Call 911, Pete Rock, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliott, Shaggy, Wyclef – he is full of stories. Then the conversation is thrown wider, we discuss proving oneself, doing things for the community and charity, about growing up in the hood, growing up in Manchester, about education, psychology, films and politics. It is a good day. I don’t remember the drive home but am home for 3ish and I sleep like the dead until 10.30am. When I check my phone Elliot has friended me on Twitter.

TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 29TH

Start the day with yoga again. It’s the only thing that is giving me the energy and focus to see me through to the end of the season. I am running on one bar but I get my head together and calmly organise my cds and usb sticks then head to Hotel Es Vive which normally looks like this…

Hotel Es Vive by La Skimal

Jamie and the team are on super form despite the incoming deluge of rain that lands early evening right on cue with Apple meteo. I am set up out of wetness’s way  – annoyingly out of good mixing earshot of the monitor – in the doorway of the Experience Bar, looking out towards a busy restaurant area and a deserted pool. It’s like Silent Disco in reverse, everyone else can hear what I’m doing except me. It’s my last day here as well. The season has ended and emotions are mixed – I am happy, play well despite the guerilla dj booth conditions, eat a little bit and chat with my bosses Jason and Nick at the end. I’ve loved playing here. The staff are just lovely, good humoured under the sky confetti and the clients are upbeat and enjoying the sounds. Here I can play what I like without compromise, they are my first work family and they’re all about to leave the island.

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 30TH

I am mad with myself. It has rained so hard all night that I slept like a hobo on a subway train. It is still raining when I wake up so I am not prepared to do anything other than yoga.

I feel caged and pace in that ‘want to go out’ way. I missed Tuesday’s Cocoon after-party because my boogie buddies were not hard partying enough to love partying in torrential rain. I don’t seem to be able to do anything constructive today except write 800 words : 799 words of which I have a sneaking suspicion are shit. I am doubleplussulking. Just keep writing. At least I have achieved somehow by collecting my package from Correos.It’s a column dress that has the distinction of being worn by Rita Ora : my best friend Jo has posted it to me because she forgot to give it to me when she visited me in Ibiza.

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It’s a no underwear required, a bit-too-big, white to acid yellow column that (when ironed) looks stunning on me as she said it would. I consider wearing it to the Amante closing party then remember that last year some twattish, textile terrorist stuck chewing gum on the front of my shocking orange bodycon wrap dress. This cannot be repeated. I decide to a) steam it then press it like the anal beeyatch that I am and b) wear it (accessorised with a thin gold metal belt and gold, strappy sandals – not my gardening boots as shown here) to the closing of Cirque Du Soleil’s new club, Heart where I can guarantee there won’t be any question of wardrobe envy. And yes I know the P on my wall is not straight – OCD readers who try to straighten the wall hanging in my picture are fifty shades of kerazeee indeed.

Back in my office and I am being brain washed by the blank screen again. I haven’t written a word of reviews for DMC World Magazine Online nor started selecting the music for my radio show. On the bright side I have watched a couple of trailers for The Danish Girl, Spectre – the new James Bond and The Revenant (Oscar or taxi for Di Caprio again ?) all Oscar possibles and blockbusters guaranteed IMHO. I’m not sure what the hell else I have done with this day but it has gone with the wind, rain and clouds. What else is there to do in Ibiza, especially when it’s raining ?

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As the season closes for the hotels, bars and clubs my daily routine is imploding. My wish to get involved in pure, wild animal craziness is on the wane.

I am on the guest list for Tini and the Gang at Lipps and Underground but I am dragging my feet like a puppy in a new leash. The season has ended, the contracts are up. We are nearing the time when everyone packs up and leaves, goes home, goes on holiday, goes back to thier families before they start planning their return and the next season. I haven’t decided what I want to do yet. I can’t. My brain is battered, scrambled by this season. All I want to do is to eat, sleep, rave, hibernate, repeat.

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So that’s exactly what I do. Minus the rave.

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HOW TO KILL A DJ – Day 2

By | 80s, affirmations, art, article, blog, club nights, clubbing, cultural, dj'ing, DJs, empowerment, feminism, herstory, history, Ibiza, image, Manchester, memory, Music, original, poetry, positivity, psychological, quote, social, Uncategorized, writing | No Comments

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I have lived and breathed music since before I was born. My musical heritage started with my mum, Blanche, who was a jazz and cabaret singer. In the 60s she co-owned ‘The Ebony Club’, the first integrated dance club in Manchester. Legend has it that, when she was pregnant with me and my twin, her waters broke as she was singing onstage with her band at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester. Consequently music and sirens run through my veins like A Rhesus Positive.

It wasn’t long before I’d graduated from ‘Up Jumps A Rabbit’ to David Bowie, The Beatles, The Jacksons, TSOP, Roxy Music and a wild mixture of funk, soul, new wave, electro and disco. The first 7 » single bought solely for me was ‘Pop Musik’ by M

M – Pop Muzik

I can still remember every lyric now I played it that much. Next I pooled my spends with my twin sister Paula to buy The Crusaders’ ‘Street Life’

The Crusaders – Street Life

and The Police ‘Message In A Bottle’ (import on green vinyl)

The Police – Message In A Bottle

I financed and fed my music addiction with an after-school and weekends paper round that bought me 12s by  Human League, Gary Numan, John Foxx, Spandau and Duran Duran.

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Most djs I know start like this. We are the Indiana Jones’s of our chosen fields. But there is much more to dj’ing and being a success that depends on exterior forces. No matter how much you know, the how much you do, the how many people you pull in and the who you know and who they know who can help and push you will take you much further. It takes a team. No man is an island, especially on this island. For three years I have been knocking on doors but getting slow-where. To succeed on this island – and to live here all year round – you have to hustle hard and I am missing those essential genes and chromosomes. True, I can hustle better than some, but not as well as most. So when the work offers come in and the receipts are totalled, they don’t place my earnings anywhere near Calvin Harris or the Swedish House Mafia in the Forbes Rich List. Not this year anyway.

All things considered I am an above average ( sic award winning) dj who, so far, has lived a pretty amazing life. I have happily enjoyed the fruits (and the odd Bounty) of 20 odd years of this character building, life shaping career loosely termed as dj’ing. On any given day it’s the music that drives me, that blows my core reactor sky high. It’s a weird quirk – and I’m not sure who else feels this, but my temperature goes through the roof when I’m in the mix. It doesn’t matter whether I’m playing nu to deep house across Europe or disco, funk and techno in Ibiza – my biological reaction is the same. Or maybe that’s just a Samantha-strength hot flash.

What started out as a cash-in-hand hobby gave me a much needed release and relief from my ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ marriage and intense graduate studies. Since then it has provided the backdrop and antidote to three relatively high pressure (not JLaw or Beyoncé level …) music industry day jobs. Trowel on a few impressive bouts of burn out, some long-term overseas living in two countries and two extra languages and it’s grown into an internationally recognised career that has been my sole source of income since 1999. Like Peter Pan’s shadow, it has become who I am without my having even noticed. Now it’s time to pick it apart, restitch and reinforce the seams so that it fits me better.

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Wherever my heart and soul crash into any genre – there you’ll find my sound and my record collection. I like to pour this over ice into a long and strong-sipping set. Like when push came to a great freezer bag heaving shove for the nine hour luxuries of my Ibiza summer. Two fried hard drives and a flooded storage unit did nothing to deter me from creating nine hour, 75 to 130 bpm odysseys out of a cobbled together collection of Cds from the dry boxes in my I-Safe storage unit.

I always put a lot of love, heart, soul and effort into my sets. So you’ll understand my Paddington hard stare when people congratulate me on my set by saying either (as an innocent compliment) that it was a great set for a girl, or worse, that I am wasted.

Paddington – Hard Stare

‘But I haven’t drunk a drop’ I say. They don’t mean mullered though. Not even spannered. Not spangled either. They mean wasted as in unappreciated, as in I should be playing somewhere better than this. Somewhere bigger. Somewhere fuller. Somewhere cooler. Feel that burn. I’m always polite back. I believe in myself and good manners and argue (most times without swearing) that they have it all wrong. I fan them with the flames of my absolute devotion, searing love and passion for music and dj’ing. Facts, figures, statistics, wherefores, howevers, whatevers, why nots and whys are all my friends. Yet this side of season end, all that has suddenly stopped making sense. I have a fluttery feeling that’s nothing to do with a post Pulpo Gallego Gaviscon shot and everything to do with my pesky gut instincts?

I love my life and my job and I’m truly grateful for all the joy and the lazy (by 9-5’ers accounts) lifestyle that it brings. Yet something about its rhythm has started to frustrate me. It also bothers me that disappointment has tinged the edges of a happily busy season. Doing OK is not an option when you live alone anywhere and especially not on this expensive island. My heart says ‘feel the love, keep on keeping on and remember the good you’ve done here’. My head says ‘no regrets, you’ve enjoyed your time here, now take what you’ve learned and build on this elsewhere. Make sure that the people you keep around you, the way you do your job and the choices you’ve made throughout the years are continually helping not hindering your progress. Make sure that all of this has been worthwhile.’ My heart can’t wedge a word in edge-wise. My head always has a lot to bloody say.

Meanwhile, my instinct is shouting ‘man up’. This is a small island. You can only take so many pictures of sunsets and delicious seafood platters and of the same people in the same places at the same parties in the same clubs before you start to see the groundhogs. Logic says it’s not disloyal to want to do something more with your life and do this somewhere else.

It looks like this is a good time to let the Ibiza me go. So this is when the fun begins. No present like time.

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Sterling void & Paris Brightledge – It’s Alright

Sterling Void sang ‘and the music plays forever’ and like every seasoned raver that knows the rest of those lyrics, I know ‘it’s gonna be alright’. But I love it here. I love living and working in Ibiza. I know that the highs I have experienced are not the sort of rush I will ever match pushing papers at a desk job. 20 years plus spent appearing on stages and in superclubs, playing to hundreds of thousands of people, rushing through the streets of Paris with a police escort and playing to thousands of people in some sublime outdoor venues and being ushered into a club with people screaming your name and security flanking you every night leaves you breathless. It is a proper head trip. So is hearing your jingle and name played daily or weekly on the radio. Receiving awards, being paid to do what you love and not feeling like it’s work at all – these are blessings indeed that are worth more than a ton of Class A’s bought at cost price on Silk Road. Does cashing up before you hang up a barista’s pinny in Costa Coffee come a close second ? Of course not. The memories I have of the last 20 years are nothing short of amazing, and the shared nostalgia runs deep, but no matter what level of player you are, sooner or later you have to make a choice. Something has to give in the bizarre love triangle between you, your life and the music. Or does it?

No matter what the vagaries of the economy and political climate have thrown me, I have evolved, persisted and persevered when others like me (who were far more successful than me) have thrown in the towel. But the recurrent nightmare persists. A legion of flesh-eating, retrained zombies beat a grisly path to a 6 star (hi speed wifi mandatory) DJ Rest Home to prey on the weak. They break every window and door down but the stone-deaf dj’s inside are oblivious to the groaning and battering and sound of breaking glass. I wake up in a cold sweat and reassure myself with some comforting affirmations.

  1. I rise to more challenges than a Great British Bake Off finalist.
  2. I bounce back from more knock-outs than Stuart Hall.
  3. I rebuild myself, my life and everything surrounding me from ground zero in four cities and three countries
  4. I am harder, better, faster.
  5. I always replicate excellence.
  6. I am a Princess. Or a Kardashian. Child swapped at birth.

It’s time for some tough love. I can feel the sand shifting. The tide of emotions, that ebb and flow of ending and beginning, is rising like the kraken inside me.

 

Below the thunders of the upper deep;

Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,

His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep

The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee

About his shadowy sides; above him swell

Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;

And far away into the sickly light,

From many a wondrous grot and secret cell

Unnumber’d and enormous polypi

Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.

There hath he lain for ages, and will lie

Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,

Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;

Then once by man and angels to be seen,

In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

‘The Kraken’ by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

 

Tracy said ‘9 months and go out laughing’… how to do ? I mean how to do ?

my colonel-mustard

TO BE MOTIVATED NOT MANIPULATED

I am pregnant with an idea. In the next nine months I will plan my own murder. It’s going to be like a giant game of Cluedo (bags-eye the glorious sunflower yellow, of course).We’re playing on a giant board with music and a rave in each corner plus a few good friends and some pictures of sunsets and poetry and planning. Most of all with planning. Much as I’d rather it was DJ Paulette in the main room with a USB stick, my loaded laptop is far mightier than a 64MB pen drive. The goal is to go out laughing… and to do this with crowd support (or crowd funding).

50/50 or ask a friend? I’ve never been fifty and I’ve never retired before, so forgive me for not wanting to call this and not knowing how to be or do either. Apparently I don’t look it, (ie forty eight, whatever that means). I subconsciously don’t ACT it, I certainly don’t feel it and I definitely don’t want the music to stop, which is four quarters of the problem. I don’t know any dj who has so-called retired who has not been exhumed weighing at least ten kilos heavier and with way less hair on top of their heads. Or more if you’re Paul Oakenfold. Admittedly Oakey never went away but either he has Wayne Rooney’s hairdresser’s number or I am Michelle Obama. Every DJ resurrection involves waving one’s legend like Excalibur (or an enormous Nag Champa jostick if you’re Balearic) in one hand and spinning a bag of oldskool house and rave classics with the other. I am never going to give up my music, yet I struggle with this. I’ll just have to wing it.

Aloe Blacc – I Need Dollar

I’m not saying that it will never be attractive to me but the concept of playing a set of big old tunes and back to back house classics does give me the willies. Who wants to play all the old hits ? All night ? Back to Back ? Without a break ? To a public with a school reunion mentality but dressed in modern rave attire instead of novelty school skirts, shorts and ties. I dread that awkward moment when my set can be timed by the placement of Voodoo Ray, Gat Decor, Dream Lover, Good Life, Strings Of Life, Big Love, Higher States of Consciousness, Jaguar and Promised Land. Where to next, once the punters start to remark on their Pavlovian regularity (and believe me they will)? I’d rather have my head slammed repeatedly in a Metrolink door than have to play all the hits just for dollar. I’m sure that science has proved (somewhere) that a roomful of monkeys could cobble together a respectable classics set using the new Pioneer CDJ2000s. Somebody just shoot me now. And don’t get me started on people making a career out of re-editing other people’s music. Should you find me hypocriting somewhere by headlining the next big ‘back to 1994’ wrinkly rave, feel free to show me this paragraph. But hold the door for me when you see me carrying my Bitcoin billions into the bank.

How can I change tack without going too far off course and keep buzzing about music and clubs? How can I make the sort of change that stretches and inspires me ? One that is legal, decent, conscious, honest, unselfish and generous? Which option or opportunity might provide the stepping stone to the next chapter?  And is it possible to see my bit part written into Manchester’s musical herstory? Am I doing the right thing even? I don’t know the answer to any of these questions but I feel ready to go boldly and raucously into the nights, dark and dazzling,  that this pilgrimage is about to bring.

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About those options and opportunities. I have decided to keep a diary. This diary. Maybe it’s not the career booster method that immediately sprung to your mind but don’t knock it. It’s a start. Psychologists recommend writing your feelings out and I have a lot of those.

Inspired by the picture I have in my mind and the cyclone of words flying like butterflies around my head, I sit at my computer poised to write. I am mostly waiting for an Emmaus sized catharsis and revelation. I look like I am trying to squeeze this out like it’s a silent fart in a lift. Then I stop dead like a Basset Hound on the scent of something it can’t quite define or recognise. The screen is still white and I am suffering from divine blindness. A question and answer session ensues. With myself. Out loud (of course). I regularly consult and argue with my inner expert. Should I post it this a blog ? Yes maybe – then my links will make immediate sense to the swipe generation. Do I post it as a vlog ? Erm – can’t be arsed making crap hand held / selfie stick clips on my iphone – they look so home made and unprofessional. Plus there’s always something embarrassing on the bathroom floor and out of frame toilet shots aren’t the way I’d like to go viral. Who in their right mind takes a selfie after doing a number 2 and before flushing the chain? Not me. Home photo sessions and videos are indeed really shite. Add some scruffy randomness on the bed or sofa or kitchen work top that you wish you’d moved before you pressed record and send … No. Something has to be left to the imagination – at the outset at least. But if that fails, then there’s always Youtube, Instagram and live streaming.

Try as I might to drag it behind me, this body is heavier than I thought. If I’m going to murder myself (on paper) I need a good plan and a lot of help (not just psychiatric). I am thinking ‘Sex and The City’ with a bit of ‘Shallow Grave’ but all wrapped up in ‘I’ll Be There For You’. It’s got to be a cross platform affair. It’s a sad state of play but most dj’s, a&r’s and managers I’ve spoken to don’t happen to list reading as one of their preferred past-times. Unless it’s a flyer. Or a contract. I need to make this so called DJ Life resonate with any and every unannounced eavesdropper outside of this room, this house and this industry. Hmmm … * scratches head *. My premise is solid. No matter how amazing the life, we are all mortal. We are not forever young. Not even Madonna and Calvin Harris. OK maybe Madonna.

The words start to flow, then I delete it all. I write some more. Then doubt and insecurity bound up, panting like two daft Collies who keep returning with a stick for me to throw. Now I am freaking out about what people might think. I tell myself that it doesn’t have to be perfect and that there’s room for fine tuning. And I’m thinking – ‘BUt what if I’m not big enough’? Better to be honest and brave, to do and say the right (write) thing and write the book I have in my head than to be an ostrich who never sees or changes anything and doesn’t ever do anything different.

Breathe. You know it’s gonna be alright. Everything will turn out just fine.

Focus. Think positively. I open Youtube for inspiration and watch best animal clips before making a bee-line for the freezer. I find and eat a Magnum that has been maturing for so long that it could easily have ripped a hole in the other side of the Titanic. I sit back at my desk enjoying the ice-cream brain freeze, then demolish the rest of my half-eaten, in-case-of-emergencies bag of Haribo that’s been sitting on my desk since last night. I stare alternately at my fingers and the screen, glaze over, then do practically fuck all* after this, due to the sugar rush and food coma. *Note to self – I can do this doing fuck all thing quite well.

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Don’t think. Just do it.

… To Be Continued …

KEEP TALKING

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This is the basis of the talk I gave at the Wake Up Festival in Ibiza on Tuesday June 16th.

KEEP TALKING

We’ve got so much information in our hands and at our disposal and yet we are removed from each other. Dis-connected. The luminescent mobile phone and iPad / tablet glow illuminates the faces of couples kissing in the street to those of people eating in restaurants and partying in clubs. It colours our chill time with the family, our concerts, football matches and hospital visits. Even our relationships start and end with a text, whatsapp IM, Skype or email. Anyone who has ever dumped someone or been dumped by someone by text or email (like me) will confirm that it was not the best way or day of their life. Further statistics reveal that we spend 11 of our lifetime years in front of the TV, yet no statistics show how much of that time is spent talking over it? As for Gogglebox? This is not communication.

The mathematical genius Stephen Hawking has a computer synthesized voice box and for many who can’t communicate in the expected way, systems are in place – sign language – to replace and match the power of speech. It is clearly good to talk.

Still, we spend 23 days per year on our phones, 20 weeks of our life on hold to customer services (60 hours per year listening to the muzak – Zero 7 Simple Things with Barclays, and the in flight boarding selection with Vueling are my personal favourites). We spend four years of our lives on the phone at work (not including freelance workers / home based work calls) and even when communication is prohibited or impeded (work, governmental black outs / societal blocks) people tweet, post statuses, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitvid, Vimeo and Vine like crazy just to get some sort of message across.

Look around you. We, humans, are superheroes. Why? Because speech is a super power. It is one of the key development stages next to movement. We only have to observe a parents’ joy in hearing a baby’s first words to know how important this is. Speech, as such, has an important function in defining who we are and our perception of the world. It expresses our needs and desires. It is easy to make our voices heard and presence felt, even in an unfamiliar space, when we only have to open our mouths and let the feelings flood out. Having this right to do so is a gift and a blessing that many fight daily to gain or to preserve.

How many of you remember your school reports? What did they say? If you are anything like me it went something like this:

PAULETTE IS AN EXCELLENT STUDENT AND AN ASSET TO THE CLASS BUT SHE TALKS TOO MUCH AND CAN BE DISRUPTIVE TO OTHERS.

In my experience such a blatant appropriation and prohibition of my power of speech had far reaching effects. I internalised all the ‘talks too much’ criticism given at school and at home and suffered constant throat problems through school on into my work life. As soon as I got stressed or felt an injustice that could not be articulated I lost my voice. I saw specialists but none could get to or heal the physical root of the problem. Instinctively I kept a ton of diaries just to provide an outlet for all the words that had built and stacked up inside me like a bubbling volcano of frustration and anger. It manifested itself in other ways too, for a time I was given a bad rep for having a short fuse at work. This was counter productive, caused countless flash points and took a lot of internal work and soul-searching to remove the energetic blocks and correct.

In my opinion this control further manifests itself today in society’s preference for a soundbite over a long chat and the perversion of socio-political ideologies like ‘freedom of speech’ ‘democracy’. It’s ‘speak how we tell you to speak’ and ‘speak when you’re spoken to’ all rolled into one. At its best it’s about containing a rowdy class, at its worst it’s about control and enticing us to live in self-enforced, isolated bubbles and we should be aware and more than a little wary of this. Like Elvis ‘all I want is a little more conversation’ and a lot more balance. The fine tuning of our listening ears and the teaching of the value of silence is also welcomed.

I recommend that you learn to USE YOUR VOICE – ask for help, express your opinions but remember to do this with HONESTY, AUTHENTICITY (be yourself), INTEGRITY (do what you say – you’ve got to walk the walk AND talk the talk) AND most importantly do it with LOVE. As an example, recently Izzy Cornthwaite – an eight year old Star Wars fan – took Disney to task over advertising that their Darth Vader costume was for boys. She wrote in arguing that the costume is for girls too. Disney have now changed the classification of ALL their toys to become gender non specific. Respect to Izzy! All Disney costumes and toys are now ‘for kids’.

This is a lesson to all – use your voice, don’t hold back. Don’t be shy. Change really can start with one person. As adults, communication is the key to all our relationships – work, professional, personal, social. If you are conversing or involved with someone who won’t let you speak or won’t listen to you – if you realise that you can’t fully have your say with them, you must reclaim your power and your happiness for yourself. Be pro-active, be genuine, be honest. No matter how important that connection might be, make sure that you put your message across first and foremost because you love yourself and everything around you, no matter if that means that you must eventually let go of the thing that is preventing you from doing this.

Be curious, be serious and ask endless questions, even if this means only finding answers to a few. I encourage you to have opinions and to make all of that felt without falling into the trap of the 7 deadly sins against healthy communication.

  • GOSSIPING – encouraged by newspapers, social networks, garden fence standers – this behaviour says more about the person doing the gossiping than the subject itself.
  • JUDGING – unless you’re officially employed to wear a whitish-grey horsehair wig, always consider ‘what makes me so right?’ before judging anyone.
  • NEGATIVITY – limit your contact with the kind of people who reduce nice days or a nice party to gloomy, stressful, ‘hard work’ situations whilst littering their sentences with the drastic ‘always’ ‘never’ ‘doesn’t’ ‘couldn’t’
  • COMPLAINING –– apparently 5 months of our lives are spent doing this. Why not claw those 5 months back from the jaws of disaster and do something more constructive with that time.
  • EXCUSES – if it’s always someone else’s fault, it’s time to start taking responsibility for one’s actions
  • EMBROIDERY / EXAGGERATION – aside from the light poetic license required by story-telling try to avoid over-egging your speech with fabricated, exaggerated details that don’t exist, didn’t happen and are only there for dramatic effect.
  • LYING – passing one’s personal opinions off as facts is a definite no-no.

The good news is that these sins are easily counteracted by THINK-ing before we speak.

  • Is it THOUGHTFUL – would I like to hear it said about me?
  • Is it HELPFUL – reach out, assist & empower people
  • Is it INSPIRING – how do I make people feel when they are near me and when they hear me?
  • Is it NECESSARY – avoid gossip, exaggeration, lies, trivia.
  • Is it KIND – remember we are all the same, living parrallel lives, standing our corners, fighting our own battles. Be as gentle and empathetic as possible. This does not mean being generally obsequious or ‘sucking up’ – everyone can see through a creep but someone giving a genuine compliment is gold. So say it sincerely or not at all and like Bambi’s mother said ‘If you can’t say anything nice, don’t (especially if its wise not to) say anything at all’

We are taught to speak more than to listen yet conversation must be a two-way street (although some would prefer it otherwise). In order to make and get the best out of conversation, I advocate conscious listening on both sides.

What do I mean by conscious listening? I mean giving the person the time, the eye contact, the interest, the space and the attention required and giving ourselves the breathing / understanding space to receive and appreciate everything they are saying. For sure this can be difficult in noisy offices, public spaces, outdoor, sports, club or festival situations (we all know existential conversations and dance floors don’t mix and full belt arguments in shopping centres are like taking a wrecking ball to a stud wall) so if you need to talk, when you need that talk, simply pick your time and place carefully. Steer clear of the kind of fortune telling that anticipates someone’s response before they have had time to think it and please call a serious ‘time out’ on over-talking. Shouting louder to drown out an opinion you don’t want to hear or to prove your point over all others makes you more wrong than right. And try not to mute someone’s involvement in the conversation and render them deaf to yours by finishing their sentences with your ideas – when you’ve had your say let them have theirs.

If we can change the way we talk, we can change the way we think and I am optimistic that it is this simple shift in perspective that can change things, one word at a time. Positive words give positive results. And a listening ear hears the valuable information that is all so often missed by the overbearing ego of others.

When our thoughts are silent, our body talks, so we need to manage that language carefully too. Try not to give mixed messages: leave insincere smiles, half way greetings, darting-eyed air kisses, the rude ‘I have no time to chit chat’ chat, the ‘I’m too busy to speak’ phone call and the ‘I’m leaving in a second’ all night club stay, out of your interactions with others. All of these negatively affect the quality of our communication, diminish trust and lower morale at the speed of light.

Make best efforts to keep your subject matter in check. All too often our conversation focuses on what’s wrong in the world. I suggest that we change our viewpoint and try more to acknowledge what’s right in the world, what’s right around us, what’s right with us and with everyone we meet. If it’s a grim day look for rainbows. Let your first thought of every day be thank you, express gratitude, try to compliment yourself in the mirror. Treat yourself with the same amount of verbal respect as you treat your best friend. Silence your inner critic. Tell people what they mean to you, speak to people in the street not just people you have on speed dial – keep your options and connections open. Encourage openness, encourage people to communicate, call your mother, father, sister, brother. Write to your MP if you feel so moved. Be the change that you want to see in the world.

Stephen Hawking (theoretical physicist, cosmologist, CBE) is quoted as saying: “Mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn’t have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.”

Engage brain before you speak ...

Engage brain before you speak …

IT’S NOT WHERE YOU LIVE, IT’S HOW YOU LIVE THAT MATTERS.

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I smile a lot regardless, but taking photos of this London graffiti wall made me feel like I’d won the lottery. I was having a lovely time in London anyway and it seemed like life had fired me one of its ‘message received’ signals. I smile about that day even now and as deep in my photo archives as it is buried, it pops up frequently and randomly yet always when I am in just that space to nod in agreement and chuckle to myself.

Happiness, to me, is loving and knowing who I am no matter what state I wake up in in the morning or go to bed at night. It’s having a clear conscience, knowing that I have done as much good in my day as was possible and that I have not knowingly or purposely done anyone or anything any harm. It is loving and giving love to myself, to my family and to the people and the world around me. It is the feeling of being inspired by and grateful for everything the day and the world has to offer. Happiness is knowing that happiness itself isn’t something that I rely on anyone else to give me, or that someone else can make me, it is in me always so I needn’t travel any distance to find it. Even though I like fancy cars and nice houses as much as the next girl, it’s not about the fairytale where you live or with whom, it’s about the real life HOW you live. And it’s about how you live with your Self.

Happiness is knowing that no matter what happens in life, I know who I am – anyone who doesn’t or just thinks they do will just have to catch up. It’s knowing that I have a choice – if I don’t like something I can stop and do something else. Happiness is knowing that the world won’t end if I do. Happiness is knowing that as many endings as there are will be equalled by exciting new beginnings. Happiness is knowing that there are always solutions and options. 

Happiness is sunshine through the window, a breeze on my face, chanting, praying, sitting in silence, reading, running, dancing, listening to and making music, writing without using any punctuation, learning new things, making things work, clean teeth, a hot bath or shower, a warm bed, having enough to live how I want yet not enough to keep me hungry and on my grind. It’s having an opinion, having a roof over my head, laughing with friends, having deep discussions then acting the fool. Happiness is a huge bucket of popcorn, a great movie and a pick n mix bag of haribo. Happiness is everything that happens in a day and everything that happens at night and knowing that anything that goes pear shaped will soon be made right. Happiness is knowing that even though I may not get another tomorrow, I have done my best today. Happiness is getting another tomorrow. Happiness is having the sweetest dreams and even sweeter wake ups. Happiness is life, love and the universe.

What is happiness to you?

Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.

Democritus

 

ROOTS

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ROOTS

Grounding or zero?

Around this time last year I had three gardening face – offs 1) Jimson Weed 2) the wall climbing ivy 2) a giant vibrant violet thistle: all glorious weeds in real life that were each taking over a different aspect of the garden and morphing from beautiful, unusual delights into virulent, rampant and destructive blights. What had once, in its springtime, been a mass of delicate flowers, with a little rain and a lot of sunshine had become giant, unwieldy and unwanted. They had to go.

Not one of these extractions was an easy task. The root systems were so intricate and ingrained, and my strength no match for the subterranean anchorage they had established, that it required days not minutes and the use of hardcore tools and implements; one brand new pitchfork shattered into pieces whilst the root remained unscathed and I had only just started the job. But I succeeded. And, whilst not one plant went without a fight, I learned by doing and looking and listening and living, that some roots can be easily shaken loose, others need more serious intervention and in some situations it’s wiser to leave well alone in order to maintain the security of everything else around it.

It seems to me that growing up, leaving home and moving house / jobs / countries tugs on one’s own deeply ingrained psychological root systems.

It’s too easy to accept that we are defined by our roots then live our lives like trees rooted to the spot, clinging to a past for an identity that becomes by its very nature, outmoded and outgrown. The sins and graces of our forefathers and mothers cradle us softly then bind us fast, uniting one family member to another unconditionally through love, nature, nurture, justice, mercy, honour, hope and duty. Yet, as safe and comforting as this can feel, the inevitability of change awaits. If we are to truly grow, we must either break away – sometimes with a gentle tug or on a light gust of wind, sometimes in a violent tornado, or if we are lucky, all that is needed is a little occasional pruning, a regular cutting back or a cutting away so that we ourselves can be gradually potted on. Moving forward and moving on by unearthing and tending one root at a time is kinder to our Selves and all around us, less radical and undisputably the more humane option.

No matter what our backgrounds are, we are not our parents or families and our parents and families are not us. That does not mean that we have to erase all evidence of that and there from whence we came. No – those roots are as important and essential to the chrysalis Us as breathing. Make no mistake, there is nothing better than returning to home and hearth, friends and flames, gorging on those two handed hugs and catching up with everyone who gives us a boost is as good a healer as any guarana laced energy drink or weekend spa stay.

As loyalty and empathy begin to motivate our choices we must also remember that we are not our employers either, nor are they us. If trees can be uprooted, moved and then planted in more advantageous surroundings, then so can we. Provided that we handle ourselves and the situation with the utmost care, we can become strong, confident and thus capable enough to develop and nurture our own root system. Better that than clinging to a future that is pre-determined and that leaves us strangely wanting, unstable, wavering and deeply co-dependent.

Feel free to add your thoughts to this discussion.

RUBY BRIDGES DAY – a day to celebrate courage and the game changing power of ordinary people doing extraordinary things

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This is a copy of a post I found on Facebook today that I think is an important reflection for us all. Please read and share.

Today is Ruby Bridges Day, a day set aside to commemorate a brave little girl’s entry into an all-white school on November 14, 1960.

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As soon as Bridges entered the school, white parents pulled their own children out; all teachers refused to teach while a black child was enrolled. Only one person agreed to teach Ruby and that was Barbara Henry, from Boston, Massachusetts, and for over a year Mrs. Henry taught her alone, “as if she were teaching a whole class.” Every morning, as Bridges walked to school, one woman would threaten to poison her;[7] because of this, the U.S. Marshals dispatched by President Eisenhower, who were overseeing her safety, only allowed Ruby to eat food that she brought from home. Another woman at the school put a black baby doll in a wooden coffin and protested with it outside the school, a sight that Bridges said “scared me more than the nasty things people screamed at us.” At her mother’s suggestion, Bridges began to pray on the way to school, which she found provided protection from the comments yelled at her on the daily walks.

 

Now Ruby Bridges is a published author but more than this I think her success is a testament to bravery, courage, the power of prayer and determination and she is an inspiration to us all.

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Many thanks to the Free Range Learning page on Facebook for the text source — and Allison Berry Jennings for the post.

Spirit of Avalon

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I am obsessed with horses – they are my spirit animal of sorts since I am a proud firehorse as my chinese astrological self. When I received this through @Soul Harmony on Demand’s blog I thought it was so beautiful that I immediately reblogged it. It embodies everything about this coming Year of The Horse and in fact, being a Horse and living the Horse life. Thanks to Roxi St Clair for being the source of the original post. I look forward to reading more posts from these two blogs.