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Mar. 11th, 2013 @ 11:54 pm Crispymix 5: Live Highlights 2012
Further to my previous post (and slightly later than planned) I've now completed my newest mix set: Crispymix 5: Live Highlights 2012. It's a round-up of my favourite bands from the gigs and festivals I went to last year, featuring:

So there you go. Enjoy, share it with your friends, and go check out the artists and enjoy the rest of their stuff too ;)
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Jan. 8th, 2013 @ 10:46 pm Gigs of 2012
Decided to make a list of all the bands I saw last year, since I did see rather a lot. I've not counted any bands I "saw" at a festival or supporting other bands and decided not to stick around for...

A Life Divided
Aesthetic Perfection
All Living Fear
And One
Apoptygma Berzerk
Assemblage 23
Be My Enemy
Ben Folds Five
Bitter Ruin
Blutengel (x2)
Combichrist (x2)
Culture Kultür
Detroit Diesel
Dreadful Shadows
Dreams Divide
End of Green
Fangs On Fur
Fields Of The Nephilim
Frozen Plasma
Funker Vogt
Grendel (x2)
Icon of Coil
Ignis Fatuu
Jayce Lewis
Leaves' Eyes
Less Than Jake
Mesh (x2)
Northern Oak
Obvious Pseudonym (x2)
PCP Principle
Professor Elemental
Saltatio Mortis
She Wants Revenge
Solar Fake
Solitary Experiments (x2)
Staubkind (x2)
Stream Of Passion
Surgyn (x3)
Tenacious D
The Arch
The Crüxshadows
The Cult
The Gothsicles
The Last Cry
The Mission
The Silent Age
Tyske Ludder
Uberbyte (x2)
VNV Nation (x4)
XP8 (x2)

I make that 81 different bands, and (including bands I saw more than once) 95 different performances. Damn, almost made the century... must try harder this year :)

Coming soon: In the next few days I'll be putting together a mix containing some of my favourite acts from the year - watch this space!
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Oct. 13th, 2012 @ 05:43 pm It seemed like such a good idea at the time...
Current Mood: giddygiddy
Current Music: Assemblage 23 - Document (Ultimate Gloom Mix by Echo Image)
So, about 6 months ago, I was starting to think about plans for celebrating my 30th birthday. Inspired a bit by blondeylocks organising a gig for his 40th, and following a conversation with thegreatgonzo , I thought - "why not bring back Batfink for a night?", and so the idea was born.

The first shock came about two months ago, once we'd confirmed the venue and the event was set up on Facebook. The reaction from everyone was quite overwhelming, we had about 100 yes/maybe responses in the first 24 hours! I mean, I'd spoken to one or two people about it over the past couple of years whilst out in Sheffield about how much they missed it, but I was not prepared for the response we got. You lot are ace :)

It was only about two weeks ago when I went and paid the deposit for the Raynor that it actually started to sink in that this was actually happening, and the past week has just been a steady build-up of nerves and excitement (in about equal quantities, if you can indeed quantify such things). Those nerves didn't really settle until after my first DJ set, but once I'd relaxed it turned out to be an absolutely fantastic evening! I got to play three very enjoyable sets to a busy-looking dancefloor (setlists will no doubt be forthcoming as soon as dj_jozafeen decodes my scribbles!), and I got to see lots of lovely people (some of whom I don't get to see that often at all!), although as usual when busy with the whole DJing stuff I didn't really get to chat to many people. I was quite surprised at how good the turnout was (and how good security were at squeezing one or two extra folks in!). Another nice thing was that my sister and her husband made it up for the night (despite the traffic), and got to come out and see what I get up to most weekends :)

One of the weird things about doing this again is the addition of the whole Facebook thing. Back when 'fink was a regular thing we only really had Livejournal, and although I'd see the occasional post from a friend talking about how their night was, we get to see a lot more feedback on FB, and it's great to know that so many people enjoyed themselves at our little clubnight :)

All-in-all, it was a splendid way to celebrate my 30th. Thank-you to everyone who helped to make it possible, and to everyone who came out! I'm still a little bit giddy from the whole thing :)

Oh, and one of the main bits of feedback we've received is "when's the next one?" and "it would be great if you could do this every few months". Well.. we'll see, maybe we'll have a Christmas present for you all ;)
(I wonder if thegreatgonzo still has his Goth Santa outfit...)
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Sep. 25th, 2012 @ 01:24 pm Go on then, let's do one of them meme things (another proper post coming soon, I promise!)
Bold the ones you have and use at least once a year, italicize the ones you have and don't use, strike through the ones you have had but got rid of. There are additions.

I wonder how many pasta machines, breadmakers, juicers, blenders, deep fat fryers, egg boilers, melon ballers, sandwich makers, pastry brushes, cheese boards, cheese knives, crepe makers, electric woks, miniature salad spinners, griddle pans, jam funnels, pie funnels, meat thermometers, filleting knives, egg poachers, cake stands, garlic crushers, martini glasses, tea strainers, bamboo steamers, pizza stones, coffee grinders, milk frothers, piping bags, banana stands, burger press, fluted pastry wheels, tagine dishes, conical strainers, rice cookers, steam cookers, pressure cookers, slow cookers, spaetzle makers, cookie presses, gravy strainers, double boilers (bains marie), sukiyaki stoves, ice cream makers, glass trifle dishes, fondue sets, healthy-grills, home smokers, tempura sets, tortilla presses, electric whisks, cherry stoners, sugar thermometers, food processors, stand mixers, mincers, bacon presses, bacon slicers, mouli mills, cake testers, pestle-and-mortars, gratin dishes, apple corers, mango stoners and sets of kebab skewers languish dustily at the back of the nation's cupboards.

Yeah, I like my gadgets, but I do tend to use most of them as well :)

Will update soon with exciting (or not) things I've been up to.. coming up soon: new car in a couple of days, Batfink! in a couple of weeks, WGW shortly after that. Funtimez!
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Aug. 30th, 2012 @ 12:14 am Festivalness
As promised in my previous post, here's a post waffling about all the festivals I've been to this year:

First up was the second year of our local industrial festival, Resistanz. This was actually one of the big highlights of my year; it was an absolutely amazing weekend of excellent bands, great DJs and lovely people. With the added bonus that I got to come home and sleep in my own bed every night! Highlights of the first day included Memmaker, Frozen Plasma and Grendel, and all the main room DJs (L8N, Carbonel, echo_echo and DJ Totentanz). Also managed to get through the Saturday night reasonably sober, remembering that it's not a normal Saturday night at Corp, and that I do actually have to do stuff the next day! (A mistake I made the year before...)

The second day was possibly even better, with great performances from Straftanz, Ultraviolence, (despite technical issues) and Icon Of Coil. I did end up having to sit down to recover following the bands, which meant I missed quite a bit of the DJing afterwards. However, I'd perked up towards the end and managed to catch (and dance solidly to) the second half of DJ Azrael's set and all of PinkFoamy's. Incidentally, I see these two have just been confirmed as festival regulars, which is great news! I finished the festival by wandering back with a few others to the Jury's Inn, where we hung out in the hotel bar for a while (where I think I slightly offended Thomas Rainer, although I think luckily he was too wasted to remember!) before I really couldn't stay awake any more and dragged myself back home.

A few months later, I headed over to Germany for my first attempt at a foreign festival, having been persuaded by black_mischief and blondeylocks to give it a go. Held in the amphitheatre in Gelsenkirchen, Blackfield Festival was definitely a fun and interesting experience. For those of you who have only ever been to goth/industrial festivals in the UK, I encourage you to try a German one sometime - and Blackfield is certainly a good one to try.

The first day was absolutely gorgeous sunshine, and we spent most of the day sitting by the main stage enjoying the music, drinking mead, and trying not to burn. I remember enjoying Grendel for the second time - the advantage of this performance being that their fantastic new album was actually out by this point, and we got to hear some more of the new tracks performed. I also seem to remember Hocico and Oomph! were rather good. However, by far and away my favourite band of the festival (and one of the main reasons for going) were VNV Nation. Quite possibly the best VNV gig I've ever seen (and there's quite a bit of competition for that title!). Approximately 6000 people all dancing around like mad things to Ronan, Mark and chums, as the sun slowly set over the stage. A brilliant end to the day.

The next day was not so brilliant.. the heavens decided to open, heavily and constantly. With very little covered space to escape the weather, it did make it difficult to enjoy the music. I did brave the dampness for Stahlmann (who were entertaining, and painted silver), some of Megaherz (who were not so entertaining), and Funker Vogt (enjoyed seeing them for the first time in years). I would have liked to have watched Welle:Erdball too, but by this point I was very cold, wet and grumpy, so I went over to the Tent Stage to dry off and warm up a bit (where I saw The Arch, a slightly dodgy goth band - not really my cup of tea, but better than being rained on!). I went outside again in time for Agonoize, who I really enjoyed.. even if we did get the heaviest rain during their set, which was then almost immediately followed by the first dry spell of the day, hooray! We finished off the day by watching Saltatio Mortis, a band I was initially sceptical about, but I was encouraged to give them a chance - and I'm glad I did, since they were lots of fun! Decided to head back to the hotel to get food and dry clothes after that, missing out on Combichrist and In Extremo, neither of which I was that bothered about seeing. I do sort of regret not sticking around for Combi, having since changed my mind about them, but never mind..

Aside from the musical discoveries, I also discovered the joy of Flammkuchen (an unleavened pizza-like thing with a creme fraiche and mustard base instead of tomato), and found out that I can drink German beer all night without it making me feel ill (unlike most British ale, something in which disagrees with me after a pint or so). Dunkel Weizenbier FTW :)

A month later, I returned to Germany for Amphi Festival in Cologne. It was quite a similar experience to Blackfield, although I didn't find the venue quite as good (perhaps I'm just getting old, but I like to have plenty of places to sit down!). Having arrived the previous evening, and spent the night wandering around various bars in Cologne, I unfortunately didn't get up quite in time to see Eisenfunk. In fact, I spent the first hour or so in a bit of a daze trying to find people, and mostly failing. The first band I remember enjoying were Spetsnaz, who were then followed by Although it was good to see them again, especially since they suffered no major technical issues this time, they were still not as good as the first time I saw them. They've never quite managed to top the great performance they gave at Infest 2011.

Next up were Assemblage 23, a band I've enjoyed for years, but never quite got round to seeing until now. I was pretty glad to finally tick them off the list - one of the few bands I actually remember dancing to all weekend. A bit later on, I also got to tick The Sisters Of Mercy off my list, although I have to admit I got bored after a few songs and left to watch Apoptygma Berzerk instead. Watching Apop again for the first time in many years was interesting. They did a mostly old-school set, which I was pleased about. It was pretty obvious by the crowd's reaction that the majority of people there agreed - there was a noticeable dip in the response to any of the newer stuff (i.e. anything post-Harmonizer, which I realise now is 10 years old!). I finished that night sitting around at the beach bar with stevek , andyravensable , _pyromancer_ , house_of_borgia and others, followed by an early night to allow for more partying on Sunday.

More great bands were seen on Sunday, including Solar Fake, Aesthetic Perfection, Stahlzeit (a rather good Rammstein tribute, complete with lots of pyros!), Combichrist again (not as good as they were in Nottingham), and listening to And One (feet were giving up by this point, but we could hear them from where we were sat). Afterwards, ended up at the afterparty/club night affair, where I got to hear my first taste of German industrial DJing. It was a bit of a shock - I'm kinda used to the smooth mixing, and often beat-matching, of us DJs over here - but these guys were just going from one track to the next, with very little attempt to blend the two. Not to mention the fact they paid little attention to what they, or they co-DJs had played before. Consequently, I did spend quite a bit of time outside with some of my fellow british DJs, complaining about it (I was glad I was not the only one!). Although as andyravensable pointed out: "they've got dancing girls, we'll know we've made it when we get dancing girls".

Due to holiday-scheduling conflicts at work, I ended up having to spend an extra day in Germany after the festival (oh noes, the hardship!). This was mostly spent wandering around Cologne with black_mischief and blondeylocks , sampling some of the city's bars and restaurants. I think I may have slightly fallen in love with Cologne ;)
I'm actually quite tempted by the idea of living in Germany for a while, and Cologne is now definitely on the list of possible places to move to.

The final festival of the year so far was Infest, and I'm afraid this is where the festival awesomeness dries up slightly. I wasn't originally planning to go, what with the line-up not really grabbing my attention much this year. However, a couple of weeks ago, we discovered the Ibis Budget hotel had rooms for £18/night, so ended up there for the weekend. It turned out there was a good reason for it being so cheap.. the rooms were tiny, basic, and the bed not particularly comfy. Also, although it was only a short taxi ride from the venue, actually finding a taxi (especially on the way back) took a while, and it was certainly not as convenient as being staggering distance away. I'll know for next year.. if I go back, I'll likely be in the Jury's Inn again.

Anyway.. having arrived in Bradford and checked in, we headed out for food, which is where I made my first mistake (about ¾ of a bottle of wine). This was followed by another mistake (another bottle of wine), waiting for people to get ready so we could get a taxi from the hotel together (another disadvantage of not being staggering distance). To cut a long story short, we didn't get to the venue until about 11pm, by which point I'd missed all the first night's bands, and half the people I knew. At this point, I should have decided to take it easy, catch up with a few people and head back to the hotel for an early night. I didn't, of course.. instead I ended up staying 'til the end, drinking lots, going to an aborted afterparty in a tiny campervan followed by wandering down to the Hilton to hang out in the hotel bar. Eventually got home about 5am.. thankfully, with the state I was in, I didn't notice the uncomfortableness of the bed.

Saturday dawned, and so did the reality of the aforementioned bed. I gave up on trying to rest about lunchtime, and we headed into town for brunch - all-you-can-eat chineefoo (yum!). Having stuffed ourselves, we wandered up to the venue in time for the first band, and to have a wander around the stalls. In particular, I was after some stompy goth boots to go with the rest of my outfit, but I was sadly disappointed. It also quickly dawned on me that loud industrial music was not what my head required at that point, in fact it could very much do with a bit of a lie down in a darkened room. My fellow Ibis Budget sufferers needed to go back and tart up for the evening anyway, so we went back to the hotel for a bit, where I had a quick afternoon nap (I'm so rock'n'roll!). This meant missing Suono and A Split Second.. from what I hear, I don't think I missed much with Suono, although apparent A Split Second were pretty good. We got back in time to catch the the latter half of XP8's set, unfortunately plagued with laptop problems. Despite this, I still enjoyed what I saw, and I look forward to seeing them again in Corp in a couple of months when hopefully everything will be working for them. The other highlights of Saturday night were the headliners - and the first band I got to see properly - Solitary Experiments, followed by asw909 's DJ set in the main room. I stayed until almost 3am, at which point I was offered a lift back to the hotel and decided to take it instead of hunting out another afterparty, still feeling a bit tired from the previous night.

Sunday started at lunchtime with a large roast dinner at the Wetherspoons in the town centre, followed by wandering up to the venue. In theory we could have got there for some of the first band, but we accidentally ended up in the other Wetherspoons half-way to the venue. Still, we got to the union in time for Tenek - a band that a number of people have been telling me to check out, but I had thus far failed to do so. They were another band who suffered technical problems (backing track issues, by the looks of it), but they managed to get through it with a few setlist changes (and a dose of humour) and put on a really enjoyable show. I'm definitely now a Tenek fan, you can all stop telling me to listen to them now :)

Following Tenek were Blitzmaschine, hailing from Hamburg, with quite an old-school EBM sound to them. They reminded me of a slightly less camp version of And One. I enjoyed the set up to a point, but after getting about halfway through it did start to get a little bit samey, and I wandered off to sit down instead. I wandered back for Absurd Minds, although not for long... they didn't particularly grab my attention either. Another one that was good for a while, but got a bit dull, sadly.

After that was Winterkälte... normally, I try to watch bands I'm not familiar with with an open mind, however I'd heard a number of people describing them, and was pretty sure they weren't for me. I'm just one of the people in the "don't get industrial noise" camp. Even spending 10 minutes in the same room, away from the stage, was a bit too much. Hid in the bar for most of it, even though it was ridiculously hot in there.

Finally, there was Suicide Commando. I'll be honest, I'm not their biggest fan, I only really like one or two tracks. I'd also seen them before, at Resistanz 2011, and not thought much to them then either. However, I was willing to give them a go - admittedly, I was sitting down around the corner, rather than standing on the dancefloor, but my feet had almost given up by this point. They were certainly more pleasant to listen to than Winterkälte, but I was still not terribly impressed. I wandered around the rest of the venue a bit more, before eventually leaving at around midnight. Despite getting a relatively early night on Saturday, and a fairly decent amount of sleep, I was still getting quite tired by that point. It's a shame, I wish I could have stuck around 'til the end.

The above write-up does make it sound worse than it actually was though. Although I missed a number of the bands for various reasons, and most of the bands I did see were not to my taste, the weekend was saved somewhat by all the wonderful people I got to spend time with over the weekend. So to all of you who saw me at Infest, thank-you for making it worth going :)

Coming up...

Still to come on the festivals front - I will be at WGW in November (note to self: sort out Spa ticket). Have been wanting to go ever since Mesh announced they were playing - not seen them in far too long.

Also, a week after that, I'm off to Leipzig for Gothic meets Klassik, which looks like it'll be lots of fun. The first night is just a normal gig, including VNV Nation, Blutengel, Staubkind and others. The second night is those three with a classical orchestra, which I'm really interested in seeing (if I can find a ticket.. it sold out before I had chance to get one, hopefully will be my friend).

And of course, there's Resistanz 2013 - got my ticket for that already :)
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Aug. 30th, 2012 @ 12:02 am Resurfacing
I have, for the past couple of years or so, actually paid attention to what all my friends have been posting on Livejournal (the select few of you who actually still post, of course). However, I'm still being slightly crap at posting myself - which I really should fix, starting now.

Having spent a couple of evenings recently going back through my old entries (ironically, when I was adding past events to my Facebook Timeline), I realised it was actually quite enjoyable to go back and remember things I got up to 5 - 10 years ago. Quite a few cringeworthy moments as well, of course (god, I was a whiny bastard at times when I was younger!), but on the whole it was fun to reminisce. I don't quite think that Facebook (even with Timeline) can deliver the same level of nostalgic amusement, so for the benefit of future me (and present friends), I will endeavour to start updating this thing regularly again.

  1. Work: Not much to say about work really. I like my job, and it keeps me in food and shiny toys. I really only put this in so it doesn't look like I spend all my time drinking and going out...

  2. Life in general: I won't go into details right now, but fair to say life has been full of ups and downs over the past year or so. On the positive side, I've met a whole load of new friends, built my self-confidence up a hell of a lot, and made some efforts towards being healthy. Negatives? The usual slew of missed chances and "what if?"s - thankfully, I'm dealing with these a lot better than I used to.

  3. Festivals: I've been to no less than four festivals so far this year, and have another two lined up: Resistanz (Sheffield, UK - April), Blackfield (Gelsenkirchen, DE - June), Amphi (Cologne, DE - July), Infest (Bradford, UK - last weekend), and coming up: Whitby Goth Weekend (Whitby, UK - November), Gothic Meets Klassik (Leipzig, DE - also November). I was originally going to go into detail about these in this post, but it ended up far too long, so that'll be a post of its own!

  4. Other gigs: (mostly at Corp) The Gothsicles (much fun, and supported by the excellent Cyferdyne), Professor Elemental (jolly fine), Pre/Verse and last minute stand-ins Uberbyte (for Adam's 40th, was also followed by the semi-regular 90's night Raveolution - a great night out), Tenacious D in Manchester (rawk), and Combichrist at Rock City (at which point I realised I was wrong to hate them).

  5. Club nights: Two years ago, I spent most of my weekends hermitting at home. These days, it's rare for me to spend a Saturday night in. I now regularly go to Revolution at Corp each month, I also usually go to Wendyhouse every month (mostly for the Mutate room). Other Saturdays I normally end up at Corp for MODE (which is a very random mixture of goth, 80s, EBM and industrial). I've also been to some other nights around the country including AnalogueTrash in Manchester, and Batronic in Nottingham.

  6. DJing: I'm now definitely out of retirement, and although it's still taking a while for gigs to pick up again, there are a few things in the pipeline (also, see next bullet point).

  7. Batfink! Yes, you read that right. Because it's my 30th birthday this year, I decided to do something slightly bigger than the typical trip to the pub and/or Corp. I decided I wanted to bring Batfink back for a one-off to celebrate (I didn't realise until later on that it's also 10 years since our first 'fink!), so I roped in my old partners in cheese, jozafeen and gwengothelf , and booked out our old home for the night. So on Friday 12th October from 9pm til 2am, we will be once again filling the Raynor Lounge with goths and making them dance by playing tunes at them. I honestly can't wait, it's going to be one hell of a birthday party ;)

Well that's pretty much the state of the Crispy right now. Stay tuned for further updates :)
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Oct. 26th, 2010 @ 07:17 pm Whitby
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
Hello! Remember me? Yes, it's time for my annual LJ update :)

Actually, this is mostly just a quick request regarding Whitby. While I've not been anywhere near organised enough to get there for the full weekend, I am planning some kind of day-trip on Sunday afternoon: bothering goths in the Elsi, dropping 2ps in the arcades, and ending up at the 80s night.

Now, I could do all of this sober, driving home at the end of the night — I wouldn't mind this at all, in fact I quite enjoy driving around empty roads at 3am :) However, if someone happens to have a spare bed/sofa/patch of floor in their cottage that I might be able to collapse on for the night, it would be much appreciated…

Anyway, whether I'm sober or shitfaced, hope to see some of you on Sunday :)
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Mar. 10th, 2010 @ 10:00 pm Flights: booked.
Current Mood: excitedexcited

I've just booked my flights to New York, which I guess means I'm definitely off to DebConf this year.

And, since it'll be my first trip to the US, I'm going to be hanging around in NYC for an extra week after the conference. So, does anyone have any recommendations for a nice (and not too pricey) hotel that I can stay in after the conference (and the accompanying accomodation) is finished? Also - any suggestions for stuff I should try to see/visit whilst I'm there?
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Aug. 10th, 2009 @ 08:27 pm DebConf9 photos
I've finally got around to uploading my photos from DebConf9, including the journey to/from Cáceres, and our 'alternative' daytrip.
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Jul. 16th, 2009 @ 08:48 pm New gpg key
Better late than never.. I've generated a new gpg key to replace my old one, for details:

Due to total lack of organisation, I won't be part of the keysigning party. I'll make sure I have some form of card / bits of paper with my fingerprint on though.

Oh, and:

I'm going to Debconf 9!

See (some of) you next week!
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