Going Back To V

Hi. I'm Akira The Don. 10 years ago I went to the V festval, and swore never to return. Now, a decade down the line, I am on a train, on my way to that very same V festival, where I have been hired to perform as Master Of Vibes backstage at the Virgin Media Tent. I am sat on a Virgin train, but I'm not using Virgin Wi-Fi as it costs an extortionate £4 an hour, and is slower than my dongle as it is shared by three first class carriages full of executives. My dongle is doing pretty good actually.

Anyway. As I said, it's been a decade since I swore never to return to the V festival. but things are different now.

Last time I went to the V festival I was a 21 year old web-superstar music journalist with a photographer in tow, both of us well paid and well prepared, pharmaceutically, at least. I was there to review the bands and Edd was there to take photos. With us was my good friend Jeres, also on reviewing duty. We couldn't have been there fifteen minutes before we blagged ourselves some VIP passes and into one of the many free booze tents to be found at what was then a festival on the cutting edge of commerciality. The V Festival created the template for all modern festivals. Every aspect of it was sponsored. Adverts covered every free space. The backstage was a multi-tired labyrinth of free booze opportunities. And we took as many as we could.

By the second day I'd found myself a plum spot in one of the many VIP areas on site. This one was holding a celebrity five a side football match, and had waitresses wandering around with trays of rum and energy drinks. I reclined on a deck chair, from which I could see the stage I was supposed to be reviewing, and smoked spliffs and drank rum until the Stereophonics came on, at which point I got up and had a wonder around my enclosure. The five aside match was being hosted by glamour-model-turned reality TV and trash magazine mainstay Jordan, now known as Katie Price, who clasped me tightly to her bossom as a crowd cheered for telling her I could introduce her to Travis frontman Frank Healy. It wasn't a complete lie. I had interviewed him a few months back, and he liked me so much he gave me a carton of 200 cigarettes.

Edd, meanwhile, had gotten access to the Bicardi Breezer tent, which was full of fridges packed with bottles of alcopops and spirits. Jeres and I helped him to get a lot of them over a wall, and we wandered around the site selling them for £2 each and used the money to buy drugs.

Ah, those were the days. Well, they were days, anyway. Interesting, strange, wild days, the likes of which might never be seen again, but I am not too sad about it. I swore never to return to the V festival as I objected heartily to its all encompassing commercialization, and now 10 years later it seems the whole world is that way, and  am returning to Master The Vibes in the Virgin Media VIP tent, which is not a tent at all, but a purpose built house complete with kitchen, bedroom and garden, to go with Virgin Media's Our House motif, bought from a band I used to love when I was nine years old called Madness.

Who would have thought it, all those years ago? And what will the world look like in a another decade, and another still? I cannot begin to predict. Life moves pretty fast, as another of my boyhood heroes noted. If you don't take a job as Master Of Vibes at a British music festival when you're offered one, you could miss it.

If you're at the V festival in Stafford this weekend, do come and find me. I will be having a whale of a time, talking over the no doubt excellent music provided by the resident Clash DJs and special guests including Frankmusic and Ellie Goulding. There are going to be a load of big foam hands for me to hand out (hahaha. "hand out"), and othersuch fun fripperies. I wonder if I can get hold of a klaxon. Either way, you should definitely come and hang out. It will be fun. Many people predicted The Death of Fun by this point, but they were wrong. Humans will always find ways to have Fun, no mater how the world is organised. It is one of our purest purposes.

LISTEN: Si Cranstoun - Dynamo (Akira The Don Remix ft Iron Braydz)

Jamie Dananananana and Si Cranstoun on Don Studios' Sofa during the recording
of the Dynamo remix

Si Cranstoun ft Iron Braydz - Dynamo (Akira The Don Remix) by Cannonball_PR

First off, I can't post this in the gigs section yet cos I can't have more than one gig at any one time without the site breaking (Zeeeeeeef!) but you need to know cos it's in a month:


Early evening slot, Saturday. Welsh border. Magic Numbers are playing too. It is gonna be a really beautiful thing, and I'd love for you ALL to come. Details are here.

OK. You coming or what?!

Second, as promised yesterday, up top there is my remix of Si Cranstoun's Dynamo. Enjoy, I did. And do. Shit goes bump in the day AND the night. It's out later this month, I believe. Si's the guy on the right with the excellent tan, and the dude on the left is my ole pal Jamie Dananananananana-NAN, sometime PR, record label boss, and script writer - he had a hand in that AAA pilot I was involved in. I can't find the pictures I took of Mr Braydz, but you can see some, and hear his music, here.

In other news, I am happy to say that I know more about giraffes right now than I did when I woke up, and its all thanks to Twitter. Today I learned that giraffes communicate on a frequency lower than our human ears can register. AND that 93% of giraffes indulge in gay orgies. Thanks internets, for giving me fresh wisdom daily! I have also seen Jamie Oliver's head spray painted on an X-Box, loads of alternative Wonder Woman costume designs that are all better than the stupid new one, and I heard this ace song in a Sonic The Hedgehog advert. PLUS I emailed lots of journalists and packaged up lots of T shirts and I am off to the post office with them now. I am running seriously low on stock on everything right now. There's only, like, 5 pairs of Don Shoes left, 4 iANDY Ts, 8 Security Ts... I am going to have to do a proper stock count. And do some new Ts and stuff. I have never done a yellow T shirt, have I? Maybe we need one of those. What other sort of stuff do you want?

EDIT: What a palava! So, I cycled to the Post Office in the Heaving Mugg, which was a little like cycling through water, if water was a lot more dense, wherein I was greeted by a Line, as my American friends say, snaking out the door and down the pavement. I enjoyed a 26 minute queue (what a crazy word to have to spell that is!), most of that spent in a two foot wide isle made of stacked up detergent boxes and canned fruit, during which time I met a baby, who was a very polite for a baby, in that she gurgled appreciation when I fanned her with a receipt I found on top of a box of cereal on the top shelf. So thankful was she, in fact, that she let out a mighty trump, so we all had something more interesting and fruity than washing powder to smell. And not only did we, The Brave Queue Of Hommerton have fine fruity scents to breathe in, but we were serenaded by a loud, tanned man in wrap around shades and fatigues, who barked such wisdoms as, "they have mosques AND churches in Poland!" and "how many oranges could you eat before you made a big Orange sick puddle like a monkey?" to all and sundry.

Indeed, they more we ignored him, the louder he got - I say "they" because I smiled at him a few times. "Don't encourage him!" cried the lady behind the counter. "The devil will never be good!" replied Tanned-shades Man, enigmatically.

Actually, I recorded a bit of him with my telephone. Check him out:

Yeah, he was great. Anyway, when I tried to pay for my Voluptuous Parcels, my card was declined, so I had to cycle home to get my other card and back again at top speed. In such a rush was I that I dropped half my bike lock, key and all, through the big metal gate it was tied to. No, I couldn't reach it. No, I couldn't climb it - for it was too tall, and there was nothing to grip. So I spent 20 odd minutes walking around and around this block, trying to find an entrance to back of this big ass gate. It turned out I'd dropped my keys into the back garden of the local Outreach Centre, and they didn't take too fondly to me breaking their trellis and climbing all over their roof trying to get into their back garden. Problem was, they didn't have any access to the back garden bit, had no back door, and their windows only opened 2 inches because it's a bloody Outreach Centre full of suicidal people - although the ones I met were all ever so nice and smiley, and very helpful also, apart from the one old lady who clawed at my arm with a hand like Freddie's and hissed something about "inappropriate shorts" at me.

Eventually I was saved by a forlorn and stressed looking Rastafarian, who said he could help me just as soon as he'd sorted out some business. Turns out the business was dealing with a lady who'd illegally parked in the staff car park and gotten herself a clamp, which he did with admirable tact and aplomb. Then he strode through the Lodge's doors, and returned ten minutes later with my bike lock and key, and the same sad, pained expression. I almost hugged him, then stopped myself, then felt bad about it half the way home, until two crazy little white girls with braces ran out in front of me waving fistfuls of sherbet tubes and liquorice bootlaces screaming what sounded like aboriginal war chants and nearly made me swerve into a lorry.


NME To Rethink Stance on Racism?

A story by The Svenhunter lifted from Playlouder:

When cleaning out my inbox I wondered why I'd left a 'news story' with 'Morrissey' and 'racism' in the title undeleted.

Well, now I remember: The NME withdrew £75,000 in funding for the Love Music Hate Racism event in London in late April, and Morrissey stepped in, rallying his "management, booking agency, and promoters" to help make up most of the huge funding defecit.

The NME's reasons for pulling out are unclear. Morrissey's press seemed to suggest his own asociation with the event made things difficult for the magazine, what with ongoing court proceedings concerning the NME's botched and blunt hatchet job on Morrissey earlier this year. (Morrissey: "Love Music Hate Racism got in touch and explained that the NME had pulled support, possibly as a result of their association with me.")

However, most sources presume that it was simply a case of dwindling sales and lack of cash.

As far as I can see, the story failed to pique the interest of anybody except left wing bloggers. (Though please feel free to correct me.)

The NME has long maintained a naïve and annoyingly-vague left-wing stance on political issues, but perhaps this just doesn't cut it anymore? Given the recent election of naïve and annoyingly-vague right-wing mayor, Boris Johnson, not to mention the relatively huge success of the BNP candidate, Richard Barnbrook (now one of the 25 members of the London Assembly), when compared with Left List's Lindsay German, perhaps the NME could re-invent itself as a far right rock rag? If that's where the money is...

The LMHR Carnival took place as planned on Sunday 27th April 2008 in Victoria Park, East London, and was a huge success.

Incidentally, I attended the event, was offered (yes, offered) a fight by one person, was refused entry due to possession of non-branded alcohol which wasn't bought in the sponsors' expensive booze tents, and was amused to witness a topless reveler dusting his hands on the way out and proclaiming, "Well, that's racism dealt with."

The rain fell hard throughout.

I didn't go myself, even though I only live five minutes away, as I was editing videos. Anyway. As if NME has £75,000 to pay wages, let alone found festivals where - spit - colored folk who don't play White Man's Indie are appearing! Lolinger!