An elegy for the simple sandwich

Siberian kale with cherrystone clam
Bulgar, quinoa, and spicy brown mustard
Orange okra served with whiskey-roast ham
Red chard, leaf lard, and savoury custard

Avocado jam with relish of quince
Shaved black truffle with sourdough croutons
Sun dried tomatoes with guinea pig mince
Plantain wraps served on tiny oak futons

Sandwich menus leave me filled with remorse
For the simple thrill of cheese with brown sauce

Song of the Week #2: Arcade Fire, "Everything Now"

I have to confess, Arcade Fire are a band that have grown on me. I knew of “The Suburbs” single and thought that was ‘quite good’, but it wasn’t until I saw their Glastonbury 2014 set that I really got them. “Reflektor” and “We Exist” were the two tracks that really burned themselves into my consciousness.

So, “Everything Now” is the first new material that’s been released since I became a fan. It’s produced by former Trolley Dog Shag and Pulp bassist Steve Mackey and 50% of Daft Punk Thomas Bangalter, which probably accounts for the dancier aspects. And boy, what a corker it is.

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Mixtape Monday – Shenanigans XVI

The working title for Shenanigans XVI was “From Little Mix to Led Zeppelin”. Unfortunately I couldn’t find anywhere to get some Led Zep in, but it’s safe to say that this mix really does run the gamut of popular music as well as covering a period of over 50 years. The oldest track is Harry Belafonte’s “Jump in the Line” recorded on 1961 (but written in 1946) and which you’ll know from the movie ‘Beetlejuice’. Other tracks from the sixties include Marva Whitney’s “Unwind Yourself” – if it sounds familiar, it’s because you recognise the introduction as the sample from DJ Mark’s “The 900 Number”.

The point, as with all these mixes, is to show that if you limit yourself to one style of music, or just play the latest white labels from London or New York, you’re really missing out on great music. Plus, if you’re a pro, your crowd is missing out on some great music. There’s no reason that you can’t try blending really diverse tracks together, like here where I’ve mixed Free’s “Alright Now” into Disclosure’s “White Noise”, or “Jump In The Line” with NuYorican Soul’s “Runaway”. It’s a real challenge to mix some of these records, but if you’re a DJ, isn’t it more rewarding if you stretch yourself? And isn’t it more interesting for the crowd if you’re constantly surprising and delighting them?

Just my two penn’orth.

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Monday Mixtape -Shenanigans XV

Lots of tracks in here that I’ve never used in a mix before; and also, a few shiny new bootlegs from those lovely people over at The one that crosses The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” with “Machine Gun” by The Commodores is particularly bodacious.

Other highlights: a splendidly funky mix of Alabama 3, some Soulwax insanity courtesy of remixes of Pulp and MGMT, some Rage Against The Machine and KRS-1 mixes (as found on the wonderful Life Support Machine blog, also worth an hour of your time to explore), and an opening guest vocal from John Locke.

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Set list: Depeche Mode at the London Stadium, June 3rd 2017

This is the set list from the Depeche Mode gig played at West Ham’s London Stadium in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on June 3rd 2017.

Now, I have many questions about the gig, not least of which is what does Queen Elizabeth have to do with the Olympics? I feel like the organisers missed a trick there – they could have named it after Queen Elizabeth II! God knows how she feels about it.

The most surprising track of the night (unless you’d seen the set list before like I had) was the cover of Bowie’s “Heroes”. Obvs there isn’t a DM version of the song on Spotify, so I just used the original. And once you’d done that, there didn’t seem much point missing out the opening Beatles track.

There is a full review of the concert going up shortly, like, when I write it, but in the meantime please do enjoy this playlist of the set list.

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Christina Aguilera – The Stripped Tour 2003 Setlist

The year is 2003. In an attempt to shake off her bubblegum pop image, Christina Aguilera dumps both her management team and most of her clothes and takes control of her own career. With her new album, “Stripped”, she grows up both personally and musically, embracing a wide range of styles and genres and tackling difficult lyrical content.

When tickets for the The Stripped Tour – essentially, a continuation of her part of the Justified and Stripped tour that she’d undertaken as a joint venture with Justin Timberlake -my girlfriend and I snapped up tickets. At that time, I was 33 and she was 26. We drove over to Manchester for the gig and were looking forward to it immensely.

As we walked up the steps to Manchester Arena, we passed a trio of young teenage girls, all chattering excitedly in anticipation of seeing one of their idols live. Taking a break from their conversation, one of them looked up at us, her eyes wide with excitement. She turned to her friends.

“Look!” she said. “Old people are coming too!”

The concert itself was amazing. Girl sure can sing.

Prince – The Nude Tour 1990

July 1st 1990 was a momentous date. For the first and only time, I got to see one of my idols live. Except, I didn’t. Well, not much. Because I missed it to watch the England vs Cameroon game in the World Cup.

From around the time of 1999/Purple Rain, Prince had been one of my idols. When the chance came round to go to see him at the Birmingham NEC with a friend, I jumped at the chance.

What I didn’t realise when we booked the gig months in advance was that the match would clash with one of the World Cup quarter finals. As luck would have it, it was the colossal clash between England vs Cameroon.

At some point during the second half of the game I realised that in the foyer the security guards and merch stand stand were watching the game on a tiny portable TV. Making some flimsy excuse, I slipped down to the foyer. There were three or four other blokes there doing the same thing. A couple more came to join us. Then a couple more.

By the time Lineker’s first penalty went in, there were at least a hundred people gathered round this tiny table watching the game.

The Nude Tour was so called because a) Prince is a perv, obviously, and b) because the whole production was very stripped back. Gone were the expensive grandiose stage sets and huge on-stage band, and in place was a leaner band and more back-to-basics set. There was a central part of the set that changed from gig to gig, which was basically just Prince at a piano. For obvious reasons I have no idea what Prince played in Birmingham, but Wikipedia helpfully lists some of these bonus Prince compositions and cover versions:

“In addition, Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done for Me Lately”, “Little Red Corvette”, “Do Me, Baby”, “Bambi”, Smokey Wilson’s “Don’t Make Me Pay for Your Mistakes”, Z. Z. Hill’s “Down Home Blues”, Joni Mitchell covers “Blue Motel” and “A Song for U”, “Jerk Out”, Fontella Bass’ “Rescue Me”, “Respect”, “Irresistible Bitch”, “When Doves Cry”, “Thieves in the Temple”, “Venus de Milo”, “Under The Cherry Moon” and Digital Underground’s “The Humpty Dance” were incorporated into the setlist of some concerts.”

By the time Lineker’s second penalty went in, there were easily a couple of hundred people watching the game, and we let out a collective cheer that – the urban legend goes – Prince actually heard it on stage and looked over to see what the noise was.

I wouldn’t know; I was hugging strangers and dancing with glee.