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I spent much of my 30s clubbing, as many of you know. It was the way that I kept in touch with a lot of people, and the friendships I forged during that time are durable ones. All in all, it was very good for me. The first half of the decade I was attending clubs, partying away and having fun, and the second half I was more and more involved with helping to run one particular club. But even when I worked at Planet Angel, it was always Front of House, or event management. I never performed, never felt the need to get up in front of people. I never wanted to be a DJ.

Well, except once.

It's not surprising, really - my lack of desire to DJ. Firstly, I don't love dance music. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy listening to it in the right circumstances, and I appreciate the effort that DJs put in to choose just the right track for the dancefloor. I love the control that a DJ has - especially with Trance - where they can beatmatch tracks together seamlessly, moving from one song to another without a pause, raising and lowering the energy levels in a room, dragging the dancers along on a journey that won't let go of them. Trace, especially, is about guiding that journey, not interrupting it.

So I like dance music. But I don't love it. Even after all the clubs I've been to, I could probably identify a score of dance tracks. I don't listen to dance music the way that many of my friends do - it blends into one and I dance on, my inner shaman taking control.

That's the second reason. My friends. I'm lucky to know a lot of very good DJs, capable of playing a wide number of genres. They're able to read a room, surprise people, make them laugh with recognition or just grin in exultation, smiles bouncing off the walls with the strobe lights. A little while ago I was able to name 20 friends who are professional (as in, have been paid to play) DJs.

But there was once.

It was at Planet Angel, and it must have been 5 years ago. I was partying, and in the Meltdown Room, where the music tended to be Trance; four to the floor, constant, uplifting. Bright lights and neon clothing and smiles of recognition, welcome and friendship. One of my favourite dancefloors. Jurrane was about to go on - one of the Planet Angel resident DJs, and a lovely bloke. And just before he started playing, I bumped into him, and he said "I've got such a track to play tonight. I've really been looking forward to it!". And I smiled, and hugged him, and said that I hoped I'd recognise it.

"Oh", he said, "You'll know."

So time passed, and he took the decks, and for 30 minutes he seamlessly wove different tracks together. And I got lost in the moment and forgot what he'd said.

And then there was a second of silence.

You don't have silence in a trance room. Not intentionally. It breaks the rhythm, stops the flow. It brings people back from wherever they were.

Silence usually means something has gone wrong. Either the equipment has failed, or the DJ has just pressed the eject button instead of play and is currently trying to find the CD they've just spat onto the floor.

So the instance I heard silence, I looked at the DJ booth. What was wrong? Where was the problem?

And I saw Jurrane with the biggest grin on his face that I'd ever seen.

Bomm Bomm
Chik ... Chikka Chikka ....

It's a cliche to say that the room exploded; I know. But everyone had heard the pause. Everyone had stopped and was just working out that the music wasn't there when Yello's Oh, Yeah started. Some dance remix of it, of course; not the original. But that clip - as the friend who made me remember this today said - are there many tracks you can identify from so few words? - that clip had the room in an uproar.

It was a masterly performance - the pause, the fact that the 'Bomm Bomm' isn't until about 40 seconds into the track but it's the most identifiable bit so that's what got played.

The grin.

Jurrane knew. He knew we'd think he'd made a mistake. He knew that we'd instantly recognise the track. He knew we'd laugh out loud, bounce like furies and grin at everyone else in the room.

He knew, and when I saw that grin, I knew that he knew.

And that grin - despite my lack of musical talent. Despite my ignorance of dance music. Despite my complete lack of desire to perform.

That grin made me want to be a DJ. Just for a moment.
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At this time of night, I should be on my way to the venue. I should be running over to-do lists in my head, working out what things to do first. I should be getting excited thinking about all the fun I'm going to have, and be ramping up to make sure that everyone else at the party will be having fun too.

But I'm not. I'm at home. If I left now, I wouldn't be allowed in, because before 10pm it's crew only at the venue.

And tonight I'm not crew.

Oh, don't get me wrong; I'm really looking forward to partying at Planet Angel tonight rather than working; it's been a very long time indeed since I have. And tonight is a night of anniversaries; 6 years since I first went to PA, 2 years since I started event managing there, 7 years since two friends of mine got married at PA, and I'm really looking forward to being there to help them celebrate.

But I still can't help but feel a little discombobulated. What do I _do_ for the next couple of hours?

Still; if that's the worst of my problems ....
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PA are running an all-nighter; you interested? :-)

Full details haven't been announced yet, but it's going to be in Southwark, and if you're on the mailing list or the forum Pete and Angel will be sending out an announcement with more details next week.

I'm in two minds whether to crew or party; crewing the Scala this year was a blast.

So - who's up for it? :-)
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It was mentioned at the crew brief last night, so I think it's fair to publically applaud [livejournal.com profile] maleghast who is now one of the official Planet Angel photographers - well done, sir :-)
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It seems like a while since I've written about Planet Angel; the downside of working at the club, I guess. The trials and tribulations of putting on a good night tend to disappear as the party unfolds, and I tend not to want to dwell on any minor niggles anyway, because generally, I'm talking to people who've been there, and who've had a good time. And that, at the end of the day, is what matters.

But September's party was a blinder.

From a personal point of view, there were a load of people there that I have a great deal of time for, and while it wasn't everyone's cup of tea, it was really lovely to see them there. There were celebrations and re-unions, and lots and lots of smiles.

The music was what really did it for me, though. We've switched the rooms around, so the trance is now getting played in a lighter, more friendly room, and the breaks and beats are going on in the larger but darker, more introspective room. And it's worked marvels. It's really changed the vibe in both rooms in well received ways.  And the DJ lineup in the trance room was one DJ short of my ideal lineup. During my breaks through the night, I kept finding myself back in the trance room, dancing instead of resting and conserving my energy to carry on working through the night. But last Friday my inner shaman was close to the surface, and kept pushing down into my feet, and I'd find myself standing on the stairs watching the dancefloor and then starting to move a little, and then, 5 or 10 minutes later, remembering that I had work to do and moving on with a grin on my face and rhythym in my step.

It helped that I'd dressed up - my red velvet frock coat, a tricorn hat and big goth boots - a cyber pirate in honour of International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Infest reminded me that I like dressing up to go out; another downside of working at a club is that it's easy to dress practically and comfortably. Friday proved that I can dress up and still do my job well. And the frock coat makes me swagger,  as it's designed to, really.

Good friends, good music, good clothes. How could I not have a great time?

For those of you that were there; thank you for being part of what is being generally agreed is one of the best parties we've put on in a long while. For those I got to meet and talk to later in the weekend, I hope you had a great time; I certainly did.

The next PA I'm working, but I'm hoping to be partying at the November one. I hope I'll see some of you there.

Incidentally; photos are now up on the PA website - some familiar faces there ....
jfs: (fireworks)
So, the world probably isn't ending today.

But if it is, my claim to fame is that Eddy, a good friend of mine from Planet Angel and the person responsible for webcasting the party, is the official live Webcaster of the Apocalypse.

I think that deserves a mention. Or at the very least, a teeshirt.
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It's just been mentioned on the forum so I can now announce that the February Planet Angel will be on Friday 15th February at the Scala in King's Cross.

Given the disappointment we faced with new years, we're going all out to launch 2008 with a bang.

I know it's not the sort of scene that a lot of my friendslist is likely to enjoy, but if you'd like to come, it would be lovely to see you there.
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I know many people on here listen to the Pandora Music Genome Project - I have a number of radio stations on there.

Anyway - it's a sunny day, I'm doing a somewhat boring task on the computer. Putting some music on in the background wouldn't cause a problem.

Except the first station I log in to is my Electronica one, and the first song it plays is "What Time Is Love?" by the KLF.

I am bouncing in my seat and want to go dancing. Not quite the result I was hoping for, but it has reminded me that it's Planet Angel tonight!
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Just a heads up - a friend's just pointed out to me that the queues for getting in last time were huge, so you might well be advised to book a ticket in advance - it costs 70p extra but allows you to queue jump!
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So I can now mention it.

Planet Angel has sorted a new venue - they're going to have a party on Friday 24th February, and then back to regular 2nd Friday parties from April onwards.

Details on the website
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Not that this affects many people on my friends list, but the following email has just been sent out:

We regret to announce that due to circumstances beyond our control, there will be no more Planet Angel Parties at the current venue; all future events there are cancelled.

We are currently reviewing our options and of course hope to be able to announce another event at some point. In the mean time we would like to say that we are genuinely very sorry about this, we have been trying since 2 days before Christmas to resolve this issue but have not been able to.

We would really appreciate your help in letting people know that they need to check the web site because many invites detailing the February and March Parties have been handed out and we have no way of contacting a lot of people. We will be posting cancellation notices on various web sites and it would help greatly if you could spread the word that people should check the Planet Angel website before going (www.planetangel.net)...

We wish you well and promise that we will do everything we can to come back with a bang.

Big love, Angel & Pete

Edited to add: So as not to spread panic, I'll add that Pete and Angel are both looking at venues as we speak, and this isn't the end, it's just a change.

But if you were thinking of coming to one of the next couple of P.As, check the website first to find the venue.

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But first A picture that I thought would amuse many of my readers. Work safe. )

Weekends? One of the best, I think. It started on Tuesday, weirdly enough, when Oli from Planet Angel rang to ask me if I wanted to be a Caretaker for the next PA. Caretaking is a great idea - there's a small number of people nominated to look out for everyone, help people who are shy to talk to other people, encourage people to dance, or play, or whatever it takes to enjoy themselves. A year ago, I couldn't have done this. This friday, I did. It doesn't count as working for the club, but it isn't quite just partying either. It meant that instead of dancing all night, I actually spent most of the night talking to people I didn't know, which was one of the things I loved about PA the first few times I went. I didn't know anyone then, so the only people I could talk to were strangers. Now, I know lots of people there and I can spend the whole night talking to friends, but I hadn't realised quite how much I missed the fun of talking to people I don't know, getting to know them a little. A great evening made even more fun by the presence of Liana and [livejournal.com profile] esrunkatsu, who turned up from B:Movie with Miggit, Ruth and another girl (whose name I have shamefully forgotten). The look of joy on Miggits face when he saw the juggling / poi area outside bathed in UV light was great to see. I don't think he left there all night until it was time to go.

The journey home from a club is usually time for quiet reflection and coming down for me, because I'm usually doing it on my own. So why is it when I have the lovely company of two delightful young ladies do I choose to a) fall asleep and b) almost get on the wrong train? ([livejournal.com profile] westernind was my saviour - "green seats are bad" is a litany to live by ...). Still, we made it home, via Tescos and the fruit and veg stall to acquire croissants, orange juice, cherries and bananas - a breakfast fit for kings.

The rest of Saturday passed most pleasantly, snoozing, chatting, drinking OJ in the shade of the summer house and generally having a great time. Everyone left for parts foreign (Brighton, Birmingham, Cheltenham and Reading, IIRC) and eventually I made it round to Leyton to chill out with a couple of PA friends and have a sort of barbeque. More froth, some wine, and good company.

Sunday was similar - Liana returned from Brighton and we went south of the river into deepest darkest Tooting to see [livejournal.com profile] caffine_fairy and [livejournal.com profile] chomper99 for another barbeque. Was far too hot for cooked food, so we turned up with all sorts of spreads that I can't spell easily, bread and cheese. No one seemed to mind and many fun conversations were had in the shade, and much wine was drunk. [livejournal.com profile] westernind and [livejournal.com profile] forbinproject were kind enough to give us a lift home before it got too late, and a quiet evening in rounded off an excellent weekend.

January 2017

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