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 http://bootiemashup.com/blog/. 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.

Tracklisting

  1. Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know
  2. Alabama 3 – Woke Up This Morning (Chosen One Mix)
  3. Beastie Boys – Sabotage (Alex Metric Mix)
  4. The Rolling Stones – You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Soulwax Remix)
  5. School of Seven Bells – Secret Days
  6. Destiny’s Child vs. The Smiths – How Soon Is Independence? (Soulwax Mix)
  7. Nelly vs. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Country Grammar
  8. Jessie Ware – 110%
  9. Lily Allen vs Robert Palmer – Kinda Fair
  10. Stetsasonic – Talkin’ All That Jazz
  11. Lou Rawls – For What It’s Worth
  12. Midfield General – Disco Sirens (acapella)
  13. Midfield General vs. Sydney Sampson – Riversirens
  14. Simian Mobile Disco – Cruel Intentions
  15. Elvis Presley – Baby Let’s Play House (Spankox Re:version)
  16. The Phenomenal Handclap Band – 15 to 20
  17. Audioweb – Test The Theory (Freestylers mix)
  18. The Rolling Stones vs. The Commodores – Machine Gun Shelter
  19. Shannon vs. The Rolling Stones – Let The Music Play
  20. !!! – Slyd
  21. Toro Y Moi – Say That
  22. Disclosure ft. AlunaGeorge – White Noise
  23. Breach – Jack
  24. The Count and Sinden ft. The Mystery Jets – After Dark (Extended Club Mix)
  25. Holy Ghost! – Dumb Disco Ideas
  26. We Have Band – Divisive (Tom Starr Mix)
  27. Azealia Banks – 212
  28. Pulp – After You (Soulwax Remix)
  29. MGMT – Kids (Soulwax Remix)
  30. Rage Against The Machine – Sleep Now In The Fire (Sketi Refix)
  31. KRS-1- The Sound of the Police (Heapy’s Brooklyn Fire Bootleg)
  32. The Chemical Brothers – Electronic Battle Weapon 05
  33. Casino – Only You (Paul Gotel’s Resurrection Soundscape)

Monday Mixtape – House Rules 01

In a break from the normal routine, this is just a series of classic house and dance-pop records mixed one into another. You get the whole record, no fancy cutting and chopping, no overdubs, no effects, faders or filters, just one record mixed into another. Old school.

There are some proper classics on here too – JJ Asha, Masters At Work, Jonestown, Blaze – they don’t make ’em like that anymore.

Tracklisting

  • 1 Fade (Grant Nelson Big Room Vocal – Wez Clarke Re-edit) by Solu Music Ft Kimberlee
  • 2 If This is Love (Moto Blanco Club Mix) by The Saturdays
  • 3 Great Dj (7th Heaven Remix) by The Ting Tings
  • 4 Sweet Thang (Original Mix) by Jonestown
  • 5 When You Touch Me (Original Mix) by Freemasons ft Katherine Ellis
  • 6 Mesmerised (Freemasons Vocal Mix) by Faith Evans
  • 7 Fascinated (Original Club Mix) by Deepgroove
  • 8 ROCKING MUSIC (JOEY NEGRO MIX) by Martin Solveig
  • 9 Some Kinda Rush (7th Heaven Pure Joy Remix) by Booty Luv
  • 10 Backfired (Joey Negro Mix) by Masters at Work ft. India
  • 11 Most Precious Love (Ian Carey Mix) by Blaze ft Barbara Tucker
  • 12 J J Tribute by Asha

A short argument in favour of the death penalty, sort of

This is the tweet that inspired this post.

It inspired the post, but not the ideas behind it, which I have been thinking over for some time.

I am in favour of having the death penalty on the books, although I do think it should be a) the measure of absolute last resort and b) reserved for very specific crimes.

I’m familiar with the arguments about the possibility of killing an innocent person, but here’s the thing; it’s not the death penalty that kills them, but the bad system which sentences them to death in the first place.

Consider: there are a rash of deaths related to shoddy seat belts in cars. Do we:

  • a) Ban cars?
  • b) Fix seat belts?

The answer is obviously b). If you fix seat belts, everyone benefits, not just the people in car crashes.

For me, the issue of innocent people being executed is not to remove the sentence of death, but to fix the system that saw an innocent person being on trial for the crime in the first place. Because isn’t that where the failure has taken place? We can’t claim that a system that allows innocent people to be tried is any better than a system that allows innocent people to be killed. We must address the cause, not the symptom.

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Advice, from an idiot, for anyone thinking about getting their first tattoo

Recently, I got my first tattoo. That’s it there, at the top of the page. It’s on the inside of my left arm and I’m very happy with it. Before I got it, I did a fair bit of research via the Internet. This was something of a pain because I had to wait for the Internet to be invented first, because it was 1992 when I decided to get one.

There is a lot of advice on the net about getting and caring for tattoos, much of it excellent and most of it quite contradictory. To wrap, or not to wrap? Do I use specialist tattoo aftercare products or is it a case of “if it’s good enough for a baby’s bum it’s good enough for your arm”? A lot of the advice comes from tattoo parlours and tattooists, or people paid to write for a living, and really I was looking for a more basic guide with a certain slant, i.e. from the point of view of someone with little or no common sense. I needed to know answers to the questions that were too stupid to ask and in writing up some of the things I learned I thought I might bring a unique perspective to whole thing: an idiot’s.

Some things to think about

Choose the artist first, not the design. For a long time – about 24 years and 11 months – I prevaricated about being inked because I didn’t know what design I actually wanted. Back when I first considered having one back in the late eighties as a teen, I was going to get a football tattoo, and let’s take a moment to thank God that I didn’t. I shilly-shallied with the idea of a Star Wars tattoo. In short, I didn’t know.

And then I read somewhere that you should pay attention to who is doing your tattoo, which was something that had honestly not occurred to me before (I have literally zero common sense so don’t be surprised). So I started reading into trends and styles, and who the well-regarded artists were. Once I found several I really liked, I looked at their Instagram galleries and what styles of tattoo they excelled at, and read around those.

After that I got in touch with four places, just by Facebook Messenger. One I didn’t get a good vibe from at all, and their reviews were mixed – they were either five stars or one star – so I dropped them. One chap wasn’t free until November 2019 and his rate was outside my budget anyway. But I got a good feeling about the place I eventually went with, they answered all my questions, advised which artist at the studio would be best based on my initial ideas, and the artist made himself available for a chat when I dropped in. We discussed elements of a potential design, I sent him a mood board, he did four designs, and I chose the one I liked best. So there’s my first tip: find someone you trust first – don’t just go with one that is close, or cheap, or was recommended by your Uncle Trevor because they inked LOVE and HATE on his knuckles.

Prepare yourself. There are some things you need to do physically to prepare. Don’t drink on the night before – alcohol thins the blood and you want the bleeding to stop as possible. And definitely don’t be drunk; if the artists is willing to tattoo you while you’re drunk, you should go somewhere else anyway. Have something to eat a good hour beforehand. Dress appropriately, in something that gives access to wherever you want the tattoo doing and is something you don’t mind throwing away if you get blood, ink, plasma or vomit on it.

Be prepared for good aftercare. I have been using Tattoo Goo products and they’ve been great, but I’m sure there are others out there that are just a good. You’ll read a lot about whether to wrap and how many days to wrap for, but I would definitely wrap for the first few nights especially if, like me, you have red ink in your design. I didn’t, and the first morning I woke up after having it done it looked like I’d had the Manson family round for a cheese and machete party. You don’t want to be up at 7am washing blood and ink soaked bedclothes.

And here’s a tip that I didn’t read anywhere: prepare yourself psychologically. It doesn’t hurt, as such, although the areas over the veins of the wrist and in the fold of the arm certainly have the potential to make your eyes water (I had both because I’m an idiot) but I managed to be a big boy about it (until the artist wasn’t looking). When the needle goes in the first time you probably won’t think ‘ouch’, you’ll think ‘oh shit this is real’. It’s worth saying two things: firstly, the tattoo is permanent; and secondly, the tattoo is permanent. Now, as Kryten once said, I appreciate that that’s technically one thing, but it’s such an important thing it’s worth saying twice. Your tattoo will be bigger than you imagine, it will be more vivid than you imagine, and it will a metric fuckload more permanent than you imagine. Are you ready for that? Can you cover it for job interviews, court appearances, home-made sex tapes etc.?

Look after yourself properly. Washing your tattoo properly is essential. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap first. Don’t immerse your tattoo – I just dripped a little water on to mine so that it lathered properly. Use a good soap too; I didn’t use the regular antibacterial soap, I used Tattoo Goo soap, but choose something that works for you. Do not scrub your tattoo! You must be so gentle with it for the first few weeks. Don’t towel dry it; use kitchen towel and pat it dry everso gently and then let it air dry. Once it’s dry, moisturise it with something non-scented and gentle. Do this 3-4 times a day. I do it first thing in the morning, before I go out for lunch, before my commute home from work, and before bed.

At night, if you’re going to wrap, use clingfilm – don’t be tempted to use gauze or another type of bandage just to protect the bedclothes. Don’t be tempted to wear a long-sleeved top for the same reason. You don’t want to try and disengage drying blood and plasma from fabric.

Get some long-term protection for your tattoo, like a specialist salve, sun cream or moisturiser. Use it regularly but sparingly – you’re not trying to gloss a radiator. What you’re looking for is something that will protect your skin, protect your tattoo, and enhance the colours so that it looks its best.

 

There you have it – my blindingly obvious tips for idiots to follow. Spend some initial time and effort looking after your tattoo and it will repay you by looking hot and increasing your sexual magnetism by literally thousands of times, unless of course you’re that idiot who had Nigel Farage’s absurd, mudskipper-like frogface tattooed on their arm. She’s a lost cause and may as well be turned into glue and supermarket lasagne.

I want to end this by saying thank you to Saulius Mok at Good Vibrations in Sheffield for looking after me and doing such a great job on mine, I’m really pleased with it and I’m so glad I had it done. Please show Saulius some love via his Instagram!

Mixtape Monday – Shenanigans in the 80s

Another Monday, another mixtape…

And another themed mixtape. This one was suggested by a friend and I could think of no more eighties way to start an eighties-themed mixtape than with the Grange Hill theme tune. Except maybe with the sound of workers going on strike…

Tracklisting

  1. Alan Hawkshaw – Chicken Man (The “Grange Hill” Theme Tune)
  2. Paul Young – Love of the Common People
  3. Alphaville – Big In japan
  4. Five Star – Rain or Shine
  5. Duran Duran – Notorious
  6. Neneh Cherry – Buffalo Stance
  7. Malcolm McLaren – Buffalo Gals
  8. INXS – Need You Tonight
  9. Pointer Sisters – Automatic
  10. Junior – Mama Used To Say
  11. Curiosity Killed The Cat – Down To Earth
  12. Rock Steady Crew – Hey You!
  13. MARRS – Pump Up The Volume
  14. Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls
  15. Depeche Mode – Everything Counts
  16. Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam featuring Full Force – I Wonder If I Take You Home
  17. Scritti Politti – Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)
  18. Herbie Hancock – Rockit
  19. The Belle Stars – Sign Of The Times
  20. Bananarama – Only Your Love
  21. New Order – True Faith
  22. Blue Mercedes – I Want To Be Your Property
  23. Rick Astley – My Arms Keep Missing You
  24. Yazoo – Situation
  25. Adam Ant – Ant Rap
  26. Adamski – Space Jungle
  27. Krush – House Arrest
  28. Def Leppard – Animal
  29. Pet Shop Boys – Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money)
  30. Sabrina – Boys Boys Boys
  31. The Jets – Crush On You
  32. Freeez – IOU
  33. Stephen “TinTin” Duffy – Kiss Me
  34. Hue and Cry – Labour of Love
  35. Five Star – System Addict
  36. Double Trouble and the Rebel MC – Just Keep Rockin’
  37. The 49ers – Don’t You Love Me
  38. Rick Astley – Together Forever
  39. Bananarama – I Want You Back
  40. Bros – I Owe You Nothing
  41. Martika – I feel The Earth Move
  42. Five Star – The Slightest Touch
  43. Duran Duran – The Reflex
  44. Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus
  45. Wham! – I’m Your Man
  46. Man II Man feat. Man Parrish – Male Stripper
  47. New Order – Blue Monday

Spider’s web on an alium

 

We spotted this in the garden a couple of evenings ago. Some industrious wee beastie had spent hours creating a large web that took in a large alium plant and even the grasses around in. Taken at 1/1000s on a Fuji X100T to capture only the highlights all I did in Snapseed was convert to black and white and dial up the shadows a touch.

The passing of time and the impermanence of everything

 

I always think that the key to being a good photographer isn’t understanding all the technical theory, or having the best camera and knowing it inside out, it’s just about keeping your eyes open and alert to the possibility of something that makes for a good image.

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