If you haven't already heard, there's a new tough kid on the block. Boasting state of the art equipment, saunas and a database most members clubs would dream of BXR London is a total fitness experience.
Among the dumbbells, cables and pulleys are DJ decks, where guest DJs can come and spin during the evening. I played last week and have to admit had a whole lot of fun doing so. Busting out forgotten tracks from my harder house days, RnB remixes ... if you're looking for a workout mix I happened to record part of the set.
After almost seven weeks of non-stop travel beginning with day one of 2017, weekends at home look a little like this: gym, walk, avoid people.
I'm not anti-social at all, I thrive on people being around me. But I also love my days alone, turning off and not having anyone around.
I've taken up a weekly gig at an amazing new gym in London, BXR. Primarily a boxing gym, there are also other facilities such as the usual gym jazz, sauna and "Sweat Rooms" - basically trainer led class rooms with trendy new machines from LA that make you climb walls and all other sorts of stuff. Gym music - it's mostly bad, techno pumping, synth overload nonsense. So I was on the quest for great, groovy tracks that still packed a punch and squat.
This led me to think of two albums in particular that made a large impact in my life. In 2005 and 2006 Ministry of Sound Australia came out with two of the best compilations that I have veer heard in my life. The Annual '05 and '06 mixed by John Course & Mark Dymanix. Track after epic track, my Sunday was soon filled with epic nostalgic songs I thought I'd long forgotten.
From beginning to end this album is just untouchable. Like a good book you can't put down, there is no off button till the last seconds fade out.
Tracks on repeat:
"Put em high" (JJ'S 12" Mix) - Stonebridge
Starsailor - Four To The Floor (Thin White Duke Mix)
Eric Prydz and Steve Angello - Woz Not Woz
Inaya - Day Nasty Girl (Full Vocal Mix)
Freestylers - Push Up
Riding on the success from the previous album, The Annual '06 continues the same groovy sound, strong bass lines but more emotional melodies and catchy rhythms. As suggests the cover, this one shines brighter.
Paris Avenue - I Want You (TV Rock Mix)
Supafly vs. Fishbowl - Let's Get Down (Full Intention Club Mix)
Gaelle - Give It Back (Putsch 79 'Lectro Remix)
Aaron Smith - Dancing (JJ Flores & Steve Smooth Remix)
Lil' Love - Little Love (Club Mix)
Stereophonics - Superman (MHC Remix)
Hard-Fi - Hard To Beat (Axwell Remix)
Freeform Five - No More Conversations (Mylo Remix)
Rachael Starr Till There Was You (Pocket & Goodwill Remix)
The longest and most stressful fifteen minutes in the world have to be in fashion. The chaos that goes on behind a catwalk show for Fashion Week is unavoidable, no matter how organized you may be. Last minute changes, mishaps, late models, faulty lights...are all part of the party.
I got off my thirteen hour flight from Buenos Aires and headed straight to the venue for Huishan Zhang's AW17 catwalk show. Luckily Church House in Westminster was literally down the road from where I live so a quick shower and polish was manageable. I'd been working on the catwalk music for about two weeks. Brainstorming themes and the thoughts behind the inspiration for the collection. Then going off and finding music that transferred these ideas, and was catwalk worthy.
Sound check at 11:30am, run through at 13:00 , show time at 14:00. Well closer to 14:30 as fashion and its people like to be fashionably late. It's wonderful to see your work come together so fluidly especially when most of the prep and final stages have to be imagined in your head.
The below tracks made the final edit for the show:
"Candles" by Frivolous
"Harry Popper" by Marcelo Cura
"Kiara" by Bonobo
Argentina. The land of meat, leather and and a rather delicious red liquid. Talking about Malbec here. It's hard to get a bad bottle of it in fact. Even a cheap 3 pound taking from the local supermarket bursts with flavour and depth. Unfortunately due to Fashion Week preparations that awaited me on my return, can't say I had too much of it this trip although the few drops I enjoyed were heavenly.
Buenos Aires is where the third race for the FIA Formula E race took place. Although the smallest track of them all, we had a beautiful Emotion Club. Set in an old building with wrought-iron staircases and monochrome tiled floors, it gave a classy edge to the setting.
My trip was injected with some much unwanted action. Starting just upon arrival into BA, the immigration officer ripped out my photo page in my passport. Do we let her in or not? Because of course we are not accepting any responsibility for what we just did ...went the tone of the conversation. I was let in but had to make a trip to the consulate to get a new passport. All at my expense.
Four hours later, I leave the beautiful consulate building with a chopped up passport and a ridiculous temporary passport. Ridiculous as the photo I was forced to accept - only one location approved by the Polish consulate of Buenos Aires - was not me at all. Sweaty, no contouring and features all mashed into 2D form.
Suddenly I hear two bangs, shouting, a large bag being thrown my way. Motorcycles with black clad men perched as if on horses drive a nose-hair past me, picking up the goods. It all happened so fast I stood there in shock - basically I'd just witnessed a hit and run. Which likely was armed. I got out of there as fast as the Uber driver collected me, back to the safety of my hotel. Enough action for one day. And the whole trip pretty much.
La Cabrera // José Antonio Cabrera 5099, Palermo Soho
Ok making a confession here - I snuck in a piece of meat (I'm pescatarian), after much peer pressure with the words that I'll never taste a steak like this again. Have to admit - it was worth it. The meat melted in the mouth, the flavour was rich and it was pretty evident no hormones or antibiotics were pumped into this flesh. Wine list is outta control too.
Il Matterello Ristorante // Martin Rodriguez 517, La Boca
I've never had an Italian mamma cook pasta for me but if she did, this would be it. This family-run-for-generations hole in the wall is a wonderful retreat where everything is made on the spot. Yes, including the pasta.
Osaka // Juana Manso 1164, Puerto Madero
Looking for an alternative to meat? It may seem hard in this city that breaths all things cow, but Osaka is a decent sushi joint with Peruvian fusion. The sashimi is delicate and fresh, the space modern and hip.
Faena // Martha Salotti 445, Puerto Madero
Do not eat by the pool. Do not eat in that hideous all-white restaurant behind the bar. Don't even order room service here. It all is sub par. The grill at the Faena however is something spectacular. Be prepared though to be smelling like smoke upon departure. The open kitchen, although great entertainment will overpower the strongest of colognes.
Bar Isabel // Uriarte 1664, Palermo Soho
The bathrooms. You're welcome.
Victoria Brown // Costa Rica 4827, Palermo Soho
Hands down one of THE best speakeasy bars I have ever been to. The music is tech house, the lighting sultry, the cocktails inventive, the staff friendly and cool, the crowd oh-so-hot. You're forgiven if you really don't fancy going anywhere else the rest of the night. Or your stay.
Floreria Atlantico // Arroyo 872, Retiro
It's a florist. And a wine shop. But the bar is through the fridge and down below. Hottie central of both sexes.
Verne // Av. Medrano 1475, Palermo
Another seductive cocktail bar that knows it's shit. Blend the the locals. They are friendly and willing to give you insider tips.
Fashion week looms. For me this means I'll be compiling catwalk music. A lot tougher than it sounds. Finding the right tracks, with samples to loop, vocals that can be overlayed ... takes a lot of time to trawl through the endless and sometimes dead end paths.
In my preliminary days of research, I watch other catwalk shows from the power house designers to gain inspiration. One that does it so well is Versace. The music, all original soundtrack, is so well thought out and brilliantly executed. The music compliments the collections so well, details are well covered. May favourite show soundtracks are the ones below:
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I also found some fun and interesting catwalk shows that think outside the box ... however the music is pretty horrendous
Las Vegas. The Fields. A city who's short but glitzy history saw it unfold from rugged desert town to a name that notoriously translated globally to The Adults Disneyland.
From my perspective, I see Vegas as the city where stars come to die. A curse perhaps brought on my Elvis Prestley. When touring globally no longer becomes an option - Vegas beckons. Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Elton John, Ricky Martin all have shows in Vegas. See a trend?
I was never a fan of Las Vegas. I saw it as quite the sad town, filled with people who saved up all year only to quickly slot their savings down machines that would never give a return. Free alcoholic drinks the only sedative and some kind of salvation.
I arrived in the night. The BA direct from London, was filled entirely with men. All aboard for the CES . Just as I was.
The CES is the global consumer global and consumer technology trade show. The three main exhibitors were 3D printers, headphones and Virtual Reality porn. Sign of the times...
In our little corner, Formula E had a club - where I DJed every day. On Saturday we had the e-Race - the first of its kind. 1 million dollars up for grabs and a place in history.
The nights were filled with some interesting Vegas adventures. Casinos, night clubs, over-the-top restaurants ... all that I expected in this trashy town where bigger was better, flashier was the norm and nothing closed.
There was one thing on my to-do-list which I wanted to tick off on this particular trip. A trip to the old Vegas- the original strip, where the first casinos and joints were set up, where all the history sat. And of course the famous pancakes at Du-Pars - where it is claimed are the best pancakes in the USA.
No trip to America is complete without a serving of pancakes.
So on Sunday morning, despite a looming headache from all the Don Julio I got acquainted with at the after party - I set off on my mission.
It was a crisp, beautiful day. My stomach was growling for food. My driver took the highway so it was a quick trip uptown.
Stepping out onto the doorstep of the Golden Nugget - one of the oldest casinos built in 1946 - you could smell the history. But also in the air was that feeling of abandonment. Here lie original constructions of pastel-coloured buildings, those abrupt linear architectural structures of the 1950's, all forgotten for the strip that now bears gigantic feats of steel and glass. Of manufactured lakes that source from mechanical waterfalls, flashing lights that never cease.
Du-Pars was in the Golden Nugget. The diner itself I suspect hasn't changed since it opened in 1938; and neither had many of the uniformed ladies complete with little white hat. The pancakes are some of the best I've had - and I've had many. This is certainly an experience I recommend if you are into delving into the history of places.
On the drive back down - make sure you take South Las Vegas Boulevard then Paradise Road. You will pass all the nostalgia of forgotten Vegas - the Moulin Rouge, Elvis Chapel, even a retro McDonalds. It's all bee upgraded, supersized and boxed-up pretty. But is it all for the best?
The Forgotten Vegas Tour
Du Pars Restaurant and Bakery // 1 Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101, USA
Golden Steer Steakhouse // 08 W Sahara Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89102, USA
Lost Vegas Antiques // 625 Las Vegas Blvd. S.Las Vegas, NV 89103
For the first time since I was an under age kid, I've woken up fresh without a hangover and completed a 5k run on New Years day. The excitement of the New Years eve party was enough to keep me going. It was a wonderful production. An open-air party full of colour and sparkle. Just the way I like it.
Recovering with my fresh Thai coconut, I have a few days to myself and to relax before returning to the grind. Did I mention I don't want to leave?!?!
I'm so happy the party went well. As always with these high-profile events, it's hard to please everyone. Everyone has their own idea of what music should be played. But I think I did a good balanec between disco, mainstream hits and a touch of "underground".
I played till just before 5am, an hour longer than expected. I was surprised to see the majority of people still up were kids. Under 20 year olds trying to salvage the last hours before being expected to hit the sack.
Those iconic yellow beach umbrellas. Synonymous with the place who's very name exudes luxury, translates tranquility and who's air of mysery is thanks to the fact that only the lucky few get to pass through and call it home for a few days. Amanpuri.
After a bed-ridden Christmas, I found myself standing by the famous palm-tree lined steps of Amanpuri, overlooking the beach. The chaos of the flight and my sickness, suddenly melted away. An immense sense of peace washed over me with each sweeping wave that leisurely came to shore.
I knew the next few days were going to not only be magical, but the perect way to bring in a new year. And to close one that was most challenging on every front.
Luckily I had more than enough friends who were also in Phuket for the New Year. My days leading up to New Years Eve were spent most happily - swimming in the ocean, long talkative lunches and reflective nights sat amongst those towering palm trees who rose up above the darkness.
'Tis the season to be jolly ! And a whole lot more jollier when you get to DJ decked out in diamonds. The oldest jewelry company, House of Garrard had their Christmas Emporium last night so it was a good opportunity to bust out some carols.
Dean Martin, Jackson 5, Brenda Lee....were all present.
The store celebrated all things British, meaning iconic British brands form fashion, gourmet food, home products - were invited to participate.
Merry Christmas, Everyone - Shakin' Stevens
Not that kind of girl - Miguel Campbell
Feel you - Tapatenweschel
Finally, after a few weeks of soft openings, Socialista's doors are ready to be openend. The new lounge space, hidden in the new buzzing hotspot of London - Berkley Sqaure, is where I'll be manning the decks from Thursday to Saturday as their rsident DJ.
Already opened in NYC and Dubai, the Cuban lounge is a breath of fresh air from the clubs in London already.
My prediction is that nightlife with select crowds gravitating to smaller, intimate spaces where they can feel at home. As if in someone's living room.
Socialista is just that. Every night a Cuban band brings rustic, latin American vibes to the space. Then I play a mix of fun rock and hits of yesteryear.
The Sound of Socialista:
Horse with no name - America
Hasta Siempre Commandante - Buena Vista Social Club
You never can tell - Chuck Berry
Socialista London // 15A Hay Hill, London W1J 8NS
Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday 22:00 - LATE
Tales & Turntables
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