Blog 51 – Illegal Raves

I’m sat in a posh private members club in Mayfair. It’s all dark timber clad walls and velvet quilted chairs – everything W1 should be. I’m not to get too comfortable says the man I’m meeting. Because tonight we’re going to an illegal rave.

The illegal rave scene, which exploded with the birth of acid house in the late 80s and early 90s, is well and truly alive. For the uninitiated, an illegal rave is an unlicensed party, usually at an outdoor location for rural settings. Organisers certainly don’t seek the landowners permission. In towns and cities, you’ll find them anywhere from parks and car parks, to abandoned buildings and office blocks. Fortunately, you no longer have to call an answering machine to get directions to a field somewhere near Milton Keynes. You do however need a text message.

There’s something thrilling about that first little bit of information. Your journey into the unknown is about to begin. Most clubbing experiences all have a beginning, a middle, and an end that is familiar. And it’s also the same wherever you go in the world. From the queue, to the club, to the taxi home, with chips in hand. It’s a well worn path and it becomes repetitive, very quickly. Not so for the illegal rave. It truly feels like anything could happen. 

The message gives us instructions to a rather plush address a few miles away. The building was apparently scouted 5 days ago. The man behind the operation seems very well versed in the procedure for such an event. 

As we approach the empty office block just off Oxford Street, there’s a police van just ahead. Things are not going to plan. 

A few local residents are on the street corner, just past the entrance to the venue for tonight’s proceedings.

“We called the police. What else can you do?” Says a calm man, with his arms folded.

“They did one 2 months ago,” adds the landlady of the pub opposite. “This one was going to be a big one though.”

Above our heads on the 5th floor, some disco lights twirl across the ceiling and shine through the window. There’s no noise though. No thumping beat. No distant murmur of bass through the walls. The soundsystem didn’t make it inside. The lights clearly did, but that’s as far as organisers got before the police turned up.

Not to worry, because over in East London, an abandoned pub has been scouted. Another Saturday night party is planned. This time a Facebook group has the link with all the info you need.

It’s £5 on the “door”. Drinks will be available to buy. And laughing gas. Lots of laughing gas. This is East London after all.

Intrigued, a friend and I make our way through Hackney’s toughest housing estates to finally find the dilapidated pub. This time though, there’s definitely sound, and no sign of the law. I imagine this is how early explorers felt as they made their way into a jungle clearing, seeing Aztec ruins for the first time. It feels VERY exciting.

We hand over our fivers and make our way in. House music bangs out from the sound system, while handfuls of people dance around. Others are lounging around, clearly on another planet, while some wait at the bar. A can of Red Stripe is £5. Some wines and spirits are available, but not many. The level of organisation and entrepreneurship is astonishing. 

The constant hiss of balloons being filled is almost as loud as the music. 

Two girls in their late 20s collapse in a fit of giggles in front of me. One of them has lost the power of speech. And movement. So her partner in crime leaves her on the floor, and swans off into the night. The girl wriggles around in front of me like a dying worm.

A few of us join together to help the dying worm up. Her eyes roll to the back of her head. She’s clearly conscious but whatever she’s going through, does NOT look fun. She assures us she’s fine, and scrapes herself together. Using the wall as a guide, she disappears into another room. 

What happens in the next few hours is nothing extraordinary for a Saturday night. People come and go. The music stays at a constant level. And there’s no sign of the police, or angry neighbours at any point.

Drugs and alcohol are a massive part of the scene. And anybody who says differently is lying. It’s very unlikely there are trained medical staff at an illegal rave. St John Ambulances probably won’t pitch up at a farmers field in Devon at short notice. So how do we manage that going forward? It’s probably an uncool question to ask. And one that isn’t being pondered by illegal promoters, or their punters. Health and safety isn’t exactly a sexy conversation topic on a Saturday night is it?

As the sun comes up, it’s time to leave. The most dramatic thing that happens all night is that I fall asleep on the train home, and miss my stop. With red eyes squinting in the early morning sun, I wonder how many other illegal parties have taken place in the UK, while we were raving in the pub?

So I ask the police, but they don’t reply. Probably too busy stopping murders, or something.

But not to worry. Because as i’ve been conducting my own observations across the capital, Sky News have also been investigating the rise in illegal parties across the UK. 682 illegal raves were recorded in 2017 by 14 different police forces. Considering there are 45 police forces in the UK, it’s safe to assume the real number of illicit parties is much higher.

In London alone, the Met documented 133 unlicensed events in 2017. A growth of almost 50% in the 12 months from 2016. Last year’s figures aren’t available as I type this, but a quick google gives you enough anecdotal evidence to see that the police are dealing with illegal parties right across the UK on a weekly basis.

So why is this happening? I agree with many that part of the problem is the closure of clubs, and spaces to have legitimate licensed parties. There’s also the cost to go to those remaining events. But i think there’s something more at play.

There’s a feeling of apathy with what many now feel is a sanitised, and stale nightlife in the UK. When promoters I know talk about success these days, they all mention Manchester’s Warehouse Project. A club night, in the traditional sense, that only runs for 3.5 months a year. It’s diverse musical programme makes no two consecutive weekends the same.The excitement and demand holds up when you limit the supply. It’s basic GSCE business studies. And it’s a model that many are now trying to copy.

And let’s not forget the return to the counter culture mindset, fuelled through years of austerity. Which, interestingly, directly intersected with the growth of the creator generation. The system many of us have been raised in has simply failed. Sticking two fingers up to that system, has become common. In disappointment, in defiance, and often, in despair. Many of us have been left with no choice, but to become captains of our own ship called destiny.

It’s also a bit, well, naughty. You know it’s a bit wrong that you’re somewhere you shouldn’t be. But the buzz and the thrill, outweighs any potential guilt you might have about the location of the rave.

A colleague of mine cottoned onto this 10 years ago. He managed to find a warehouse in East London, and fully license it via the council. Through Facebook and text, he made it appear he was putting on a “secret ILLEGAL warehouse party”. But from the very start, all the forms were filled in, and authorities alerted. Hundreds of people paid £20 for the experience, and were none the wiser. The event sold out. Theatre of the mind is a powerful tool.

So what’s the solution? 

Well the appointment of London’s first night czar might be a small start in the capital. Amy Lamé has promised to work on “keeping the capital safe, vibrant and diverse at night.” The London mayor’s plan to save, protect and support grassroots music venues is underway. The ultimate goal, they say, is to make London the world’s best music city. Nashville, however, might have something to say about that. In Manchester, Sacha Lord, the man behind the Warehouse Project and Parklife festival, has taken on the roll of Nightime Economy Manager for Greater Manchester. All positive. But politics can be a long, boring and drawn out beast. A slow moving vehicle, in the dynamic instant world, we now find ourselves living in. And what about the countryside? 

The parties only seem to get bigger, the further you travel from major cities. At the start of the summer, the police attended an event in the Ae forest in Dumfries where 1000 people had gathered. In this instance, the location was so remote, authorities stated that no local communities were being effected. The police worked together with organisers to gradually wind down the event.

In April this year, police were called to a rave near Corfe Castle in Dorset, where 1,500 people had taken over a farmer’s land. Residents and holidaymakers ten miles away had complained about the noise coming from the site. It took 36 hours for the last attendees to leave.

One younger raver in the abandoned pub in Hackney told me the “paradigm had shifted.” Maybe he’s right and this is the new normal for nightlife in the UK? However, with all patterns and trends, all good things, ALWAYS come to an end. It just doesn’t look like it’s going to be anytime soon.

Blog 50 – So long big man…

So long big man…

I’m ready. I’ve been ready since i was 9 years old. Big man culture is dying, and i’m ready to carry the coffin right into the incinerator. It’s poisonous domination has lived among us for too long, and every single time I see someone go against it’s abrasive, brash grain, I celebrate. James Blake, i’m looking at you this week. Thanks.

Every time someone speaks up about their mental and emotional state, or not fitting in, or their imposter syndrome, or whatever else they’re using to beat themselves up with, we’re one step closer.

Life as a man is not sports cars, watches and shredding. It’s not sleeping with hundreds of women you met on Tinder, or talking about football, boxing and cricket. Not that there’s anything wrong with ANY of the above. And this certainly isn’t a dig at the material success we’re sold every day. I’ve had some of it, and I like it. Life as a man is YOUR experience. It’s how you choose to live your life, not what the world tells you.

Should I just pipe down with my Yorkie, and a bag of McCoys. Probably. It’s a lot easier to say nothing. To go under the radar. But stealth doesn’t work anymore. How you implant yourself in the minds of people is the important thing.

Am I less of a man because i’ve always had a fascination with flowers over football? Or candles over cricket? I think not. But it took me years to accept and understand that. To find out who I am. Not the pretend version of me I give to the world sometimes. We all have that side. But the only thing that really matters, the one thing that’s been the best part of my life, is finding out who I really am. And accepting that for all that it is. All that I am.

Sometimes that’s a struggle. I’d love to care about Liverpool not winning the Champions league. Or that really sick new watch people are posting about on Instagram. Why? Because I want to be a MAN. I want to talk about the stuff the big boys are chatting about. Believe me, in a commercial sense it would do me a lot more good. But I cant fake it. In fact, I won’t fake it anymore. It’s not worth it. The pretence is exhausting.

Like pretending you don’t have a problem. Or thinking “you got this!” when you clearly, DON’T got this. But you just listened to Tony Robbins on Youtube?! Being the Big Man is tiresome. And it’s literally killing us.

This, what I’m doing now, is the enemy of Big Man culture. I’m being honest. I guarantee the minute you try it, your life will change. Those secret struggles that you’re lugging around, those pains and hurts you just need to suck up, could all be gone, if you let someone else help you along the way. None of us have to do this by ourselves.


Jade Bird

In the modern vernacular, this girl’s voice is EVERYTHING. Jade was a fellow military brat, schlepping around the world like the the littlest hobo. She moved to London at 16 to make a career out of music, and 4 years later she’s finally starting to get some recognition. File next to Laura Marling and First Aid Kit.


I really don’t know a lot about this lot other than that they’re a 4 piece from Canada. I just thought this was a really nice tune when i first heard it, and find myself wondering when i’m gonna hear more. Or see them live. Which is always a good sign.

Billie Eilish

Strong name game going on here. A fellow O’Connell. Not related for all the transparency fans. She’s a 16 year old girl from LA who began making music with her brother a few years ago. Being the right age to be on the path to pop stardom is one thing, but also making catchy little bangers is another. Eilish is a social media over sharer, definitely worth keeping an eye on. Did I mention her middle name was Pirate? Arrrrrrrr. Shiver me timbers.


I love Skandi pop. They’ve always made some of the best tunes. I almost included Sigrid earlier in the year for part 1 of this blog, but had’t heard this at that point. Already looking like one of the first big pop songs of 2018, this Norwegian had to go on the list for this track alone. She’s also the BBC Sound Poll winner which in theory should be a great indicator of trajectory, but is becoming a little unpredictable. ‘Strangers’ is a TUNE.

Lil Xan

There has been a shift in the last few years to the idea of rockstar rap. Post Malone being the first big success story of this fusion genre. Think Kurt Cobain on trap snares. Lil Xan currently has a name issue though. The glorification of Xanax has all of a sudden become uncool, as millions of young people around the world are getting xaned off their nut on pills they’ve bought online. (Xanax is a prescription only med) So Lil Xan has decided his new name post re-brand will be ‘Diego’, his actual name. Although at the time of writing, the rebrand has been put on the back burner *shruggy emoji face* He has smashed 2017!

Greta Van Fleet

I’ve been accused of not supporting real rock this year \m/ So how about this? Greta Van Fleet could not be more Led Zepp if they tried. They got together in 2012, and these boys from Michigan are lining up a big 2018 with tours & a big Spotify session already in the diary. Viva La Rock!

Blog 48 – Trolling

I started working in radio at the age of 18. It was the year 2000. We’d just survived the millennium bug. The computers hadn’t imploded, or ended civilisation as we knew it.


Text messaging was also being embraced at stations across the world. SMS was really “taking off”, according to one boss. “What?!” blurted out one old jock. “Like the listener will ever give up the phone to call the DJ. Never.Gonna.Happen.”

You get the idea.

It seemed so simple to text. It was a revolution. Interacting with your favourite djs had never been easier.

After a few years of working on other people’s shows, I got my “big” break. Now I was under no illusion that anyone was actually listening to a student radio station on a Monday morning at 4am. In fact, it made it slightly easier. No pressure.

So when the station manager told me they thought it was important for the listeners to interact with Leeds Student Radio, I thought he was completely batshit crazy.

“We’ve strapped a Nokia 3310 to the desk. The number is 07855662117.”
(It clearly wasn’t that exact number)

So let me get this right…people are expected to listen so intently as to remember a 10 digit phone number? If one required a definition for delusions of grandeur, then surely this was it?

But this grey Nokia 3310 strapped to a desk in a Leeds Uni cupboard was to be my first experience of what we have now come to understand as “trolling”.

The first message I read from that tiny mobile screen was “You’re shit. You’re boring. Get the fuck off.” Can you imagine how much hope, joy and excitement was in my little heart as I went to open that? Only to be greeted by the hate filled bile at 5am on a cold, wet winter morning. I’m sure it would have been tougher to take if it hadn’t been for the quarter bottle of vodka I’d neck before every show to deal with the nerves.

That would continue in much the same vain, for the remainder of the broadcast. Which was about one month, twice a year.

The following year I got an ACTUAL job. AN ACTUAL JOB IN RADIO. Paid and everything. I’ll never forget my first ever pro-troll. Dave, the taxi driver from Wakefield. That’s how he signed off every text message. Loud and proud.

When he didn’t, I could recognise the number. I’ve never forgotten his first message. It was so angry. It contained so many swear words, it would be so hard to mistake his hatred for me.

“You’re the worst fucking radio presenter I’ve ever heard. Shut the fuk up u stupid cunt. This is the shittest radio I’ve herd.” (The great thing about trolls is their spelling is often atrocious. I imagine it has something to do with the explosion of anger that kickstarts their furious tapping on a keyboard.)

Say what you REALLY think Dave.

It’s worth pointing out that these days text messaging systems in TV, radio etc blank out swear words so the person can’t actually read what’s been said. But back in the day you got the full message. In all it’s glory. One really got a sense of the emotion in a troll.

Around that time, another troll of mine wasn’t as angry or hateful, but often made me uncomfortable. She was a woman from Scunthorpe who would often send in pictures of herself naked. Her questions were basically about my penis, or what I like kissing? This wasn’t your classic troll activity, granted. And I know this happened to other people on air. It was, however, still uncomfortable. And weird. Very, very weird.

Like with most things in entertainment, there is no training on how to deal with this. In fact, the only advice you’ll ever hear is just to ignore it.

Anyway in 2005, I left Dave from Wakefield and the pervy woman from Scunthorpe, and headed for a bigger station in Leeds. Galaxy 105. What I found here was that as the audience size increased, so does the level of troll.

One massive fan of the show would often text me and tell me that I was a “posh cunt.” Now as someone who’s lived all over the place, I know i have the most generic accent possible. A slight Northern twang probably. Possibly even a whiff of Yorkshire. But nothing that would make you think I spent my weekdays in Chelsea, and weekends in the country. The same person actually turned up to a DJ set once, and said the same thing TO MY FACE. Imagine taking the time to do that. But I got used to it. Essentially, he was saying “you don’t sound like me and I don’t like that.” Galaxy 105 was a Yorkshire station for Yorkshire people. It’s strength was it’s regional pride. And I understood that.

However in 2006, there was a definite gear shift to the next level of the troll.

Whilst on-air threatening messages with varying degrees of violence directed at me started to appear during my shows. So I began searching the number to see what else they’d been sending to the station. They’d be contacting one other presenter, my mate Dave Kelly. Dave was on after me and i remember briefly mentioning it in passing as we handed over one night. We laughed it off. Neither of us reported it. They were just words. But not long after, in bold black capital letters, the most punchy, impactful, hate filled message arrived.


They had my attention.

I thought it best to report it. A lovely lady who looked after me told me she had to ring the police. They quickly arrived to interview me. They offered to have someone walk me to my car and follow me home, but it felt overly dramatic. All very unnecessary.

A few weeks passed. Dave Kelly and I stopped getting the messages. The police contacted us to say we wouldn’t be hearing from them again, and not to worry.


As the years passed, social media exploded. Facebook and Twitter became the playground for the opinionated, ignored and unheard. Finally, they had a platform. They can tell you exactly what they think. Solicited or not, 24/7.

As a radio presenter today, there is an expectancy to curate the station’s online presence, as well as your own. I therefore know what people think about me on a daily basis. Good, bad and indifferent.

My experience with the trolling we’ve all come to see and experience online is, at times, bizarre.

There was the man on Twitter who claimed to have gone to school with me . He would tweet me vague things about what had happened whilst there. Always implying something sinister. And all completely made up.

Then there’s the people who think you’re 100% responsible for the entire output of the radio station you work for. They hate the music, something someone said, the adverts. They are relentless and grinding. They get blocked quickly.

More recently, the troll’s new paradigm of “guilty, until proven innocent or guilty” visited my little corner of the internet.

A man listening to me on the radio, believed i’d been doing Jimmy Saville impressions. Disgusted, and rightly so, he took to Twitter to express his outrage. He contacted Radio X and Ofcom, (and lots of other important people) to have me taken off air. And i’d probably agree with him…if it had happened. But it didn’t matter to the hundreds of people who’d already retweeted his calls for my head. They hadn’t even been listening, but they were also “shocked and disgusted.”

And just in case I was in any doubt these people weren’t listening, they began to tell me.

One inquisitive tweeter asked his followers, “Did @danocdj do an impression of Jimmy Saville on @RadioX today? Seeing many retweets so guessing it’s true.”


Then I laughed. Then I felt deflated. Then I felt despair. Then I shook my head.

Noel Gallagher once told me in an interview that “the man on the street is a cunt.” I disagreed with him. But I was starting to think he might be right.

We really had hit the bottom. Not one, but many people believed I thought it was appropriate at 1:20pm on a Friday afternoon to be doing Jimmy Saville impressions. I contacted my bosses, they checked all the show audio. It definitely hadn’t happened. Still the retweets clocked up. It took a couple of days to gradually die down. But die down it did.

What had the instigator troll been listening to? Did he just make it up? Was it all a big mistake? Again, so many questions.

So few answers.

Occasionally, one gets an answer. Danny Wallace writes brilliantly about confronting a troll in his book, ‘I can’t believe you just said that.’ I thoroughly recommend it for a play by play account of how someone reacts IRL when confronted about their actions online.

I too, have confronted one of my own. The long story short, was that a 14 year old boy, (posing as an adult) ended up apologising when I explained what his actions were doing, to not only me, but the universe as a whole. He told me he was bored. That he didn’t think he was doing any harm.

It’s become a potent mix. That mixture of boredom, hopelessness, relative anonymity, anger and the realisation of how little control one has in the wider world.

Online we have control. A tiny weeny bit of control. But control of our own little bit of cyberspace none the less. You are the master of your own Twitter ship. You get to set the course. Unfortunately, a lot of people haven’t learnt how to sail. So it’s like setting off in dense fog. Lots of people are just smashing into each other because they haven’t got a bloody clue.

I can’t know most people are doing their best in life. I operate from a place where I hope they are. But I fully accept that most people don’t know, what they don’t know. So if someone isn’t aware that they’re constantly pissed off with the world, and with themselves, they’re only ever going to operate from that place, doing the best they can.

Does that make their behaviour right, or acceptable? No. But it does give us a place to start from. We most certainly need to educate at school level the impact we can have online. And while we get to control our own minuscule parts of the internet and certain parts of our lives, we can no longer operate from such a personal base. We need to think bigger. And contemplate how our words, thoughts and feelings will affect humanity, as a whole.

This is not controlling what each individual can say, think or feel. This is not about silencing voices. This is about realising the positive impact we can all have on each other. And ultimately, how our interconnectedness as human beings thrives when we stick together, and support one another.

I’m not saying we all need to agree on everything. I’m not declaring peace and love is the answer mannnn, or hippy liberal BS. However, I can quite happily accept you have a different opinion to me without becoming angry. OR SHOUTING SWEAR WORDS AT YOU ONLINE LIKE A CHILD. I’m just a person saying do me a favour, let’s treat each other with some respect and decency.

Blog 47 – #metoo

Yesterday, both Ed Sheeran and Tom Jones talked openly about the abuse of power, and sexual harassment within the music industry. It’s something I’ve seen first hand. Unfortunately, more than once.

When I was 18, I’d been on a team night out with some friends who all worked at stations in the North of England. I’d spent a small amount of time talking to a senior radio producer about my hopes and dreams. He then said a few people were heading back to a radio station to carry on the party. Would I like to go?  My overly ambitious ego, out of control, and hungry for approval, told me to go and carry on the night. When we got to the building, the man in question turned to me with a snarl and told me to “get my cock out”. He was very intimidating, but also someone I saw as a gatekeeper at that point in my life. The seedy, drunk, pathetic, weasel repeated himself.

“Go on get your cock out.”

He nodded at my crotch.

I was shocked, scared and speechless. We were alone, in an unfamiliar setting. From nowhere, some force within me managed to break my silence.

“Fuck. Off.” Were the only two words I could gather.

As I pushed by him and made for the door, I looked back. He was clearly angry. But his face was also filled with disbelief. I’m not sure what happened to him.

A year later, a senior male record company exec, acted in a disturbing way in a hotel toilet after an industry event. He was nastier and vile. However I can’t recall the exact wording he used, and I don’t want to invent anything that clouds the truth. I, however, remember exactly what i said.


It seems strange that I would say that. I mean, i’m not gay, but the subtext would appear to me that on some level, it would have been more acceptable if I was. That in both cases, if i was a man who liked other men, it would have been ok for someone to instruct me to remove my penis from jeans. BONKERS.

There’s no doubt the power game was clearly in play in each of those uncomfortable moments. Neither of them ever said, “Show me your cock and you can have the breakfast show.” Or “Get your dick out and I’ll make sure X does an interview next time she’s here.” But there is an implication, in their words and actions, that you should go along with them – if you want them on your side.

Was there anything to report in these cases? Maybe. I didn’t of course. Like many of the accounts we’ve heard over the past few weeks, it often feels like par for the course. However, I believe the strength of people sharing these stories makes for safer working environments. It will also, hopefully, act as a vehicle for the perpetrator’s education that this behaviour is unacceptable, and will no longer be tolerated by anyone. Anywhere. Male or female.

Blog 46 – New Music: The Best of 2017…So Far


This young lady from Brixton was on the BBC Sound Poll a few years ago. So technically not new music to the semantic online nerds. However, it’s becoming increasingly common for tracks that are two, or even three years old, to break into the mainstream as “new music”. This big, powerful soulful voice, has so much more to give!


YES! I screamed. Finally, something…well…a bit different. This US/UK collective already caused a big stir in the music industry at the start of the year when they posted ‘Something For Your Mind’. Dollar signs flashed before the eyes of the biz, as the hungry wolves salivated at the money to be made from advertising and brand deals alone, from what is, a very catchy tune. Early days, but easily one of my favourite’s of 2017.

Stereo Honey

The first time I heard this back at the start of 2017, I wondered if this was Dougie from The Temper Trap starting a new project. The voice and melodies are a perfect match. Their festival bookings are off to a strong start, and they support the Naked and Famous later this year. Keep your ears and eyes peeled.

The Howl and The Hum

Band names. No rules on how you choose. This lot have been inspired by an Allen Ginsberg poem. Obvs. Why the hell not? They’re from York. Shambles? No they sound bloody great. (This is a really good York based joke) If you don’t get it, then visit York. Or google it. DO I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING FOR YOU? Couple of gems from them this year. Start with this:

Dermot Kennedy

Here’s a 25 year old Dubliner with bags of potential. He’s just released his debut EP this year.
And he’s quickly building up a solid fanbase around the world. There are moments when his voice reminds me of Paolo Nutini. And that big voice meets some huge pop production on this tune. Check out ‘Glory’, or just head straight for the ‘Doves & Ravens’ EP.

Mondo Cozmo

Josh Ostrander has been around for a long time, making music and feeling like he “wasn’t making it.” Although his name rebrand has left him sounding like a holiday cocktail, his music has now found itself a massive global audience. He’s playing Reading & Leeds in August, and he’s just finished touring with Bastille. And I love him even more for not quitting when it was shit and nothing was happening. A life lesson for us all!

Blog 45 – Dementia

My writing recently took me to a few words on this personal experience. I normally just keep this stuff in journals, but maybe you, or your family are going through something similar. So I thought I’d share.

Granny, the matriarchal, sometimes fierce, yet loving woman, has got dementia. It’s been gradual, and gentle in a way, but it’s constant and certainly worsening.

I first thought things were getting strange just before christmas 2016. After another fall, all her wine was replaced for an alcohol free alternative. Yet, four months later she still hadn’t realised we’d swapped it. She was constantly referring to it as “real” wine and dishing it out as gifts. Not once has she read the labels. Not once had she noticed, the surely differing effects the two wines produce. There was quite clearly no cognitive connection taking place around her alcohol consumption.

Just the other day she mentioned how boring life was and how nothing was happening. It was the day after the Manchester Arena bomb, and my dad pointed out that one of the worst UK based terror attacks had just taken place. “They get what they deserve in Manchester…” She replied, tailing off and looking away. Now, at this point it’s very important to note that my dear granny grew up on the outskirts of Manchester during WWII. She has lived a lot of her life as a proud Lancastrian. This statement made NO SENSE. Rightly or wrongly, where did she think Manchester was? She certainly wasn’t referring to the town she’d grown up around. Did she even understand what had happened? Was it a throwaway comment to something she had just misheard? So many questions…

The follow up to this was even more intriguing. My dad then asked her what she would find interesting.

“Space”. She paused. “I hear they’re just about to send someone into space. Now that will be interesting.”

With a few more comments around her marriage and the death of certain people we’ve identified that, in her mind, she’s bizarrely stuck somewhere, flitting between the present day, and the early 1960s.

Documenting this over the past few months or so, has been such a mixed bag of emotions. At times, it has been funny. Her imaginary tales of taking a dog for a walk. Her description of the routes they travel on these casual bimbles are hilarious. There is a dog where she lives. Granny, however, can barely walk.

Mostly though, the decline is a slow shallow sadness. Which is fine of course, being sad. It hasn’t consumed our family. Everyone has still turned up for her. Loving and caring for granny as best they can. I see her children develop a patience and tolerance one can only really muster in situations like these.

The dementia is only one part of this old age story. Broken bones are now not a surprise as she’s wheeled out of the x-ray department after another fall. And it’s kind of weird because we all know how this ends. But, in the meantime, she marches on(in plastercast) And we’ll laugh and cry as much as we need to. Because it’s life. And it’s the only way.

Blog 44 – New Music: December 2016


Don’t be fooled, these girls might have that woozy California thing going on, but they’re actually from Amsterdam. There’s a new EP on the way called ‘Leda’. Hazy, West Coast Warpaint vibes. Perfect bit of sunshine for those long winter nights. Have a listen to ‘Icon’:

Hollow Coves

OK i’m a sucka for Aussie pop folk. But this tune is seriously next level. The Brisbane boys have been together since 2013. The Gold Coast is the perfect breeding ground for this vibe. I doubt any of mates growing up in Hull were ever gonna come up with this. Their new EP ‘Wanderlust’ is out in Feb 2017. I LOVE ‘Coastline’…you know what i mean? Take me back to Surfers Paradise. ASAP.

Declan McKenna

I’ve been keeping an eye on this guy all year and never mentioned him in any of my blogs…and i’d like to right that wrong. He’s from Hertfordshire in the UK, and won the emerging talent competition at Glastonbury back in 2015. There’s a lot more to him than just being a kid with a guitar – his songwriting is next level! Check out ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’. And if you’re hungry for more, go and listen to ‘Brazil’. TUNES for days mate.

Blog 43 – New Music: November 2016

Stefflon Don

There’s been loads of chat this year about the new “Queen of Grime”. I’m not sure you’re a queen before you serve your time as a princess, but hey, that’s the hype machine for ya. How you pronounce her name is also up for debate. And the stories. Sacking managers, studio nightmares…all before she’s even got going. Could be a real star, or could be the next what’s her name? Did “212”…ah…oh well, that’s showbiz. Check out ‘Real Ting, a banger from her mixtape that’s out next month.


There’s a part of me that wants this 20 year from Norwich to be rubbish, so i can say he has Norfolknchance of making it. HAHAHAHAHAHA. That’s a really funny British joke that i’m sure many global readers will struggle to understand, but trust me…it’s hilarious. There’s some big pop potential here. And I think this is ‘WONDERFUL’:

Rainbow Kitten Surprise

I’m really happy to admit, that sometimes, I miss really great stuff. The world is full of music now, you can’t be across it all. It’s impossible. So to find this band about 2 years after they started getting active, really goes to show how musically saturated the world is these days. These boys from North Carolina, have got some TUNES. Check out ‘Devil Like Me’, or go to their youtube page for more RKS goodness.

Blog 42 – New Music: October 2016

The Georgia Flood

Here’s a band from Atlanta, who remind me of the first time I heard Cage The Elephant. They’ve posted a few tunes up, but this little whistling number is the catchiest by far. Check out ‘Whistle King’

Maggie Rogers

This young lady is just 22 years old. Growing up on a farm in Maryland, the first instrument she picked up to learn was the harp. She studied at the Clive Davis Institute in New York, and currently lives in Brooklyn. She’s already on course for 20,000,000 streams of this track at time of writing. And her first UK show old out in less than a day. ‘Alaska’ is BIG.


Let’s be honest this is a rather personal blog. I post new bands/artists I like. For a bit of fun. BUT i’m also posting this band because I know a lot of Portuguese people listen to the show. Radio X is kind of a big deal is Lisbon for some reason. So here’s a psych band based in Portugal that have made a real jam. ‘Juniper’ is here!