Kerfuffle Barn Yardies
Looking back through a hundred bin bags
According to that old Jamie Jones tune, “I can’t go back in time.” Even if I could I wouldn’t change a thing – except perhaps for one small detail. In retrospect I would have made sure our rubbish was better organised. We did start out having a separate bin for cans etc. but as the weekend started getting a bit messy (I can’t quite recall when exactly that was) the rubbish started to get a bit mixed up.
Never mind about that for now let’s rewind to the best bits…
Liz and I had already sampled the delights of guest houses with ceilings caving in, hostile dog walkers and a sinister driver/stalking incident that reminded us of the lorry in Duel. On Thursday the sight of the 20K rig arriving raised our sprits when we eventually rediscovered where the hell we’d left the barn. By Friday, we’d completed multiple trips to Aldi, built a bar and stuffed straw in the holes in the barn walls.
The pace picked up as we got Prince Porky’s sound system and shiny new kitchen unpacked. A massive pile of wood had been delivered to feed the fire pit, we’d wired up the Massey Ferguson and the entire barn had been appropriately festooned. All that remained to do was to detail the complex raffle ticket-to-drink exchange rates via the medium of blackboard and chalk.
Back in the barn, Jane Tee and Sharon Bowen were warming the wet right out of us with a disco drenched workout that really got the glitter ball rolling. By the time Liz Edwards stepped in, the crowd was pumped and primed and Liz had the goodies they were after. The way she worked in Troydon’s “Close your eyes” provoked a dancefloor reaction I did not witness, but I sure could hear the cheers – go girl!
Next up Paul NoKip did a blinding job layering up the sassy vocals and low slung organ grinders. The crowd just lapped up his New Yorkian house business - YSE’s “Bounce back” was right on my tip too. Simon Atkinson not only turned up in the biggest, baddest camper van, he also rocked some proper badass grooves.
Grant Dell kept it tight and well boxed in - I heard someone ask who’s on the decks? “someone who loves big rolling basslines”. Nuff said.
Pure Science treated us to new mixes of much of his classic roster – his sounds have long set parameters for our brand of sonics so it was great to give this memorable set the proper volume it deserves.
Of course ladies favorite and our original proper DJ guest, Richard Grey, kept his fan base onside with a few well-chosen gems. Sandi Rivera’s “Changes” just one of those moments when your ears tune right in - even beyond the relentless bar banter of Nurse Wendy and her cohorts.
Hi hats off to Grace Sands for keeping it stiletto sharp and bubbling under - a proper DIY delivery from the dame of gospel-tinged, platinum-blonde house – “My beat” by Blaze did it for me.
A few of you had been telling me how much they had been looking forward to hearing Dan Cartel and - Devon knows how they make it so creamy - his journey into old school was right on one matey. MAWs “Deep Inside” topped off a trailer load of groove-tinged delights.
My set was hampered by a drop in volume – a regrettable response to the owner’s request: “Turn down the bass - they can hear it half a mile away in church!” Whoops! Mind you I did enjoy dropping DJ Ali’s “You don’t know” (RIP brother).
It’s always lovely to hand over to a smiley Colin Dale – he’s been supporting us since the very early Plug days and his mellifluous techno tinges and depth-charge deep tunage was the icing on the cake. Abe Duque and Blake Baxter’s – “Acid” says it all really.
Getting back to back with Liz was a rare treat for me. We both had an extra bag full of end of the night goodies we were all revved up to play - I won’t list any here cos you all know them well enough but hearing a chorus of you lot singing “One thing – I can do one thing” will stay with me for a long time.
And then there was more Jane and Sharon deep soul badness – I’m sure I got the names of a couple of their rare slices of vocal heaven, but by that time I’d stopped taking notes. Last but not least Lisa Warner was back up on the main rig to close proceedings with more roots and culture – only she asked me to share the set it with her, one on, one off stylee. Thanks Lisa. Our rock steady double act included a Slim Smith duet that sounded sweeter than sugar cane candy.
After this non-stop two-day pleasurethon, tiredness did eventually kick in. The next thing I knew, it was Monday morning and there were a thousand lightbulbs to pack away in tiny boxes, tables to dismantle and tents to unravel. By mid-day we were ready to take all our rubbish off to the waste depot.
Only there was one small problem - mixed rubbish was a big no-no. The solution? Someone had to sort out every single bag and separate all the cans, and bottles. I bet you can guess who. Three hours of raking through all kinds of festival filth felt and smelled like the come-down from hell. The long journey home was enhanced by by the pungent aroma of bin juice, a cold strip wash in a rainy layby and multiple traffic violations… ahh! the memories linger on.
May we offer a heartfelt thank you to everyone who made our anniversary shindig a small festival with a huge heart. So many fond recollections - Liz and I will truly cherish them. Here’s to our next twenty years together. X
Words by Martyn Rochester
Kerfuffle Cream Eggs
Our 20th Birthday Easter Sunday 2017
A lot can happen in 20 years. Its long enough for some of us to become world famous and to touch all corners with their own definition of electronic music. Living legends like Terry “the Love Panda” Francis, “Evil”, [we call him our favourite uncle] Eddie Richards, and Laura –pride-of-the-North Jones we are so not worthy! Not to mention L.E. “not just a lovely face” Bass, Aidy “straight outta Northampton” West and Brighton ‘s own Magnus “back to mine” Asberg – all have been carving intricate grooved laced niches for themselves for a very long time. They are names not to be trifled with – I still find it hard to believe how readily they all agreed to be so completely Kerfuffled.
In the case of your longstanding residents Liz Edwards and myself, 20 years has marked the difference between our party consisting of a handful of close mates press-ganged onto a sticky South London pub floor and a once in a lifetime celebration that full-filled every inch of what’s become our home from home, Brixton Jamm. What’s more, for this occasion, we dragged in just about every one of the good, the great and the faithful of this underground party malarkey we all love so much. We both agree that’s time well spent.
When you’re playing next to the likes of Terry and Eddie - the very people who inspired you to put on the phones in the first place, you can still only feel blown away at the prospect warming up for them. So slapping the first tune to ring out over that meaty Martin Audio rig in the main room felt very special. For a start I was working under the watchful supervision of our sound supremo Stuart Crossland who knows how to tune those kicks and hats so they really can sing. Hearing the rolling bass on DKMA’s “Love n Pain” as they should properly sound was a real treat for me.
You can’t take Magnus Asberg out of Brighton, without half of Brighton coming along too - especially when he charters his own mini-bus full of merry makers to add a little early evening mayhem to the proceedings. He’d dug out some real gems from those walls of vinyl we’ve been admiring at so many after parties back at Club Magnus. Ready and able, he jumped on the decks and raised the temperature in the front room so quickly, it took me a while to prise a few adventurous souls away from his packed floor to stray towards the room I was playing in.
Then there was a Terry Francis’ set. This is a man who, despite a punishing schedule of non-stop international gigging still gave us his full-on marketing support so no wonder we were packed to the rafters. For good measure, he also brought pretty much his whole family along to celebrate with us. When I walked in, the room was literally shaking with excitement and ringing out with groove-laced joy.
Meanwhile, Laura Jones was busy wowing the big room with the kind of tunage that have won her such plaudits up at B2Basics and beyond. While she was playing, it was great to spend some time with her agent and partner Gavin Herlihy who’s own release from last year “Put it on” has become a bit of a Kerfuffle anthem. Laura read the room perfectly and dished us up a basket of groove laced treats the Easter bunny herself would be proud of.
At last meeting the elusive Aidy West was yet another great moment. After enjoying the fruits of his record shop I knew his selection would really work for us. It did. He’s one of those increasingly rare DJs who resolutely only play vinyl – because it sounds so good. He’s also someone who is not out to push their own productions, preferring to let his set do the talking. His selection for the night certainly hit some sweet spots on the dancefloor.
I was having such a good time listening to Aidy West’s stirring set that, I have to admit that I didn’t spend enough time in the front room checking out LE Bass. When I did walk into a packed room of people going bonkers to Brett Johnson’s “Sigh of Relief”. I can admit a faint sense of regret for not being there to hear more of her amazing tunes. if only you could be in both rooms at the same time
In the past Eddie Richards has had car troubles on the way to the Jamm – this time he stepped in to save his old mate Aidy West from a train cancellation by driving him to the gig. Most of the time Eddie’s flying first class, but that night he seemed more than happy to be slumming it with his South London fan club. Over the years, many of our best and busiest nights have been thanks to Evil Ed the Godfather of Techhouse. As ever - he gave us all a masterclass in precision mixing and kick-ass kicks.
Even with such benchmark talent behind the decks, it was out on the terraces, in the murky corners, at the bar and on the dancefloor that our mega birthday shindig really went off. In all the smiley, sweaty, warm and huggy interactions that kept on firing we once again had a Van der Graaf generator of energy exploding everywhere. Over all these years, it’s you lot - the party faithful – who have never failed us. So thanks to all of you who made this party one that’s gonna be almost impossible to top.
Words by Martyn Rochester
Kerfuffle New Year’s Eve 2016
Kerfuffle Supper Club
A Review of New Year’s Eve 2016/17 at Forge & Co, London
Well we’d never done this before. Never seen out the old and in the new over a night of Kerfuffling. We’d done 20 years of New Year’s Day marathons, but this one was different. But from the moment we walked in, to be warmly greeted by Theo, our Maître D and Manager, resplendent in an acid paisley evening jacket we knew we were in good hands – Forge & Co was ready to turn up the heat.
A couple of Harissa hot starters and virgin cocktails later and Liz Edwards was already belting out the jazzy drum and bass and Latino flavours to a sea on fine diners. She set the mood for the night ahead beautifully with an eclectic round up of her wide ranging tastes - from Beeb themes to Grace Jones via Mr. Scruff and Etienne De Crecy, she served up a lovely early plateful of prix choc morsels. As this was originally booked as a solo gig for Liz, (she recognised it as a last minute Kerfuffle opportunity) it was a shame couldn’t stay to welcome in the new with us, but by the time she left, she had laid some deeply resonating secure foundations for a very special night.
I jumped on the decks around ten and really enjoyed belting out a few Kerfuffle classics in the run up to the big bong. Not having played the 12 o clock switchover before I wasn’t sure how to sample the sounds of Big Ben, so opted instead to follow a moment’s silence with the first tune of 2017– Brighter Days by Cajmere. With everything all of us have put up with over the past few months, it’s all about positivity from here on. So tunes like Matthew B’s remix of Sueno Latino and Mr White’s The Sun can’t compare were just begging to be played – thanks for sharing all those amazing dancefloor connections with me folks.
Daren Nunes and Kleo then took over for an extended back to back tour de force that took us even further than our twenty-year party history. With highlights ranging from Model 500’s the Chase, to Ron Trent’s Seduction via so many proper summer of love acid house anthems - every mix brought in something fresh and memorable - even if there was hardly one recent release played. Just how it should be at New Year.
We were supposed to finish at half three, but nobody seemed in any rush to stop and when our very own pillar of the dancefloor community Terry Francis turned up with a broad grin and a couple of memory sticks, it seemed churlish not to offer up the decks for a further two hours of mayhem. I don’t think there was a single straggler not dancing by the end.
So a million thanks to Spencer Nunes for having the vision to turn his quality dining experience into our twentieth anniversary special. And how very special it turned out to be. Thanks to Theo for making room for us, extending our dancefloor into the middle of his dining room. Thanks to Kleo for giving us such a lovely taste of what we’ll all soon be missing when he moves to Australia. Thanks to Daren Nunes for playing his big heart out and lending us his venue. For Terry Francis for once again being the big cherry on our cake. Thanks to every one of you when came to the first bash of our 20th year. And thanks most of all to Liz for handing over her gig for all of us to enjoy.
By Martyn Rochester
Kerfuffle New Year’s Day 2016
In with the Noo
A wee Kerfuffle Hogmanay
Well that's got to be the best New Year's party we've all had for some time and a great indication of how amazing 2016 is shaping up to be. Thanks to everyone who came along and made our Metro debut such a special day.
Fabulous Franc warmed us into an early sweat, Alistair O'Mara rocked our socks off Liz Edwards smashed it Paul Soul took it deeper than a Cumbrian ditch and Darren Roach served up the kind of goodie filled selection of solid gold classics we've been waiting ages for. Also a meaty system care of Brighton Andy Mac, and also amazing visuals from Sean Meacher, plus Fran and all the staff at Metro.
The venue was beautifully decked out in highland splendour and the dance floor was proper rammed and sticky. Those dancing on the tables included our warm and generous host Fran. Once again THANK YOU! X.
By Martyn Rochester
Kerfuffle New Year’s Day 2015
back home at the Jamm
With Murf and Stuart already there tweaking knobs and thundering out filthy twisted techno it felt like I was back home even before I started setting up. With Liz away in the UAE, I was running this one solo, so I was grateful for all the help I could get. Kaz had already been on Wiggle duties so I was always going to sit outside for a fair part of the night. So if any of you can fill in the gaps please do. What I can say is - when it comes to creating a rare kind of aural sweet spot, Stuart and Murf are a pretty good place to start. And with our very own Sean now beavering behind the set up of pre-indurstrial light and magic, I was working with safe hands.
First up, John Fillary. Now it’s hard to remember a Kerfuffle party that John has not attended in recent years, so it was fantastic to witness just how quickly both the venue and dance floor filled up as soon as he started spinning. Everyone arrived early because they didn’t want to miss John’s set and he took the party upwards and onwards with some lovely classics including one of my favourite old Sade vocal tracks - he’d been doing some proper crate digging for sure.
Portsmouth’s own detroit drenched tunesmith, Laurence Reed then took us on a shudderingly smooth excursion through shimmering tech loops and soulful spikes. The crowd’s keen appreciation of his selection could clearly be heard through the double doors even as I was performing octopus armed door duties, as it all got busier. Listening back to his recorded set I can see why.
Murf’s was, as ever gloriously off-kilter - more evidence of the kind of lateral approach to the music that really sets him apart . He encourages us to explore increasingly acute angles over the more usual curvilinear sonic terrain. Every sound tweaked and twiddled to murfection, riffs pulled out and dropped back in with military precision - never harsh or abrasive, just layer upon layer of fresh directions and unexpected delights..
Talking to Richard Grey before he played, I mentioned how much I enjoyed him playing RonTrent’s Altered States a few years ago at Wiggle’s 18th birthday party at Corsica Studios. He gave me a cheeky grin and said he was going to play Kleo’s remix in his set. My ears pricked up as soon as that inimitable bassline stomps in. Being able to dance up to Kleo and shout. “Save me one on vinyl please” was special - talk about “Our Music”. As always Richard’s set was a masterclass kick drum constructivism.
All in all, another fine mess. The one key element missing was of course was Liz. As all of you who made it along will agree she was noticeable by her absence but, in true Edwards spirit, we partied on regardless.
By Martyn Rochester
Kerfuffle Del Mar
Big Beach Cafe
Hove Lagoon May 2014
Don't you just love it when things come together? So here's the scenario – we've had a couple of parties in London where reduced hours and venue pressures had made us all feel like the best of times were beginning to seem like a distant memory. Of course that's in no way belittling amazing talents like Eddie Richards or Dave M – to name but two. Anyone who was there on New year's day or Easter Monday heard amazing music and shared a vibe that still takes my breath away – but small compromises add up – it was move on or stop – and stopping was never going to be an option.
So when regular guest and pillar of the South Coast House scene Andy Mac told Liz about his links with Fatboy Slim's Big Beach Café, we jumped at the chance to bring our party into the sun and onto pastures new. With only 120 tickets up for grabs we sold out in just a few days. That meant we could relax, secure in the knowledge that even in the first few hours, we'd have enough partygoers to give us critical mass and the kind of vibe we've all come to expect.
The Brightonians were there in force but amazingly, the London massive almost outnumbered them. Many brought their nippers over for the early sun terrace session where Nick the Deck-Doctor was booming out killer basslines with his inimitable take on roots and dancehall reggae. To see toddlers in the next door playground skanking to Gregory Isaacs and Dennis Brown brought back those golden days of Sunsplash, when a bigger and better Mayor of London served up a masterclass in multi-cultural joy and harmony – and all for free. Nick's selection was dreader than a tam full of locks - the perfect magnum opus to a new chapter in our story.
At six the bass bins moved inside – cue for tears from my seven year old daughter who believed she was now a bona-fide Kerfuffler and there to stay. The next hour was graced by Liz Edwards who took those of us who already had red foreheads and needed a little shade to an hour of a deeper shade of warm-up. Once again, Liz put herself on at a time when there were too few of us around to listen. Those who did enjoyed set that provided rock-solid foundations for the rest of the night.
And than it was my turn. Seven till nine was a relatively late slot for me. Like Liz I often play to someone sweeping the Jamm floor – this time I had twenty up for it shape throwers at the start and a full floor by the end. I've never dropped Audio Werner's Easygoing to a more appreciative crowd.
It's funny how a room full of people can make you take things tougher and more percussive than the time might otherwise suggest. Thankfully, Peter O calmed things down with some gentle but highly infectious grooves that really built on what we had established. He even threw in an old Sasse mix that I had picked up from the man himself in Finland in the 90s. Amazing how even your rarest bombs are rarely under the radar of those who know.
Simon Atkinson is nothing short of an underground legend. There are some telling shots of him sitting next to Evil Ed, Juan Atkins and Carl Craig in Detroit from the early 90's – and he's been putting that kind of top notch education to good use ever since. This night his selection was faultless – more housey and a little less tech than the last time I heard him play for us, but then sea and summer lushness are just begging for some vocal samples and jack.
Since Grant Dell moved to Southampton we hear less from him and Beth. He made up for that through the contents of his box of magic tricks. Bass driven, swing infused and sassier than a stay-fro soft perm sporting backing singer, he channeled roots funk and disco through a lovely journey through the far reaches of house. As one of his seminal signature tunes shouts loud and proud - it's "been a long time". Until next time – soon come.
By Martyn Rochester
Kerfuffle Easter Sunday
April 8th @ The Jamm
“Walking from the bus stop toward The Jamm, a deep pulsating rhythm was detected within me and the feeling of a good night to come was felt almost instantly what was to be for me,one of the most memorable nights out I have attended in a long time.”
Andy Moore missed James O’Connell’s blistering warm up and he wasn’t there for the pre-party nerves that always plague Liz and I. But judging by the expectant atmosphere that greeted him as he stepped in from the cold, all three of us must have done something to get this party started right. Three hours in and we were already in full sway.
AJ, or Acid Jesse as he like to be known these days, built a memorable set
around a great first release – if Rubber Band is anything to go by he’ll be putting out loads more. He cut a vinyl copy upstairs at Cutting Vinyl just the week before and the Function One was lapping it up – just like the crowd. Kerfuffle has always been about the party people and, from helping to fix Eddie Richard’s car, to all those endless lifts he’s given us, AJ richly deserved to be up there with the best.
According to Andy, House of 909 hero Affie Yussuf…
“set the mood with some truly beautiful tunage slowly caressing our inner minds and making us dance more and more with the great vibes he was sending out. Near the end of Affie's set two mystery doors opened to reveal a darkened room with odd blue lights emanating from within - like a lemming I too was drawn to this strange new opening.
I had just entered a new universe and probably the best lasers I have witnessed in years.” Setting the tone for this brave new world of techno was Murf – he’d been digging for treasure for weeks beforehand and was ready to let it shine.From 0-128 bpm in a matter of minutes, he served up a tough, twisted big room warm up that was the perfect backdrop for his expert knob twiddling.
“Twisted bastion of dancefloor trippiness, Mr. C gave us a superb set, truly worthy of a legend.” Tune after tune dropping at just the right time to provoke the maximum crowd response. Quite apart from being one of the biggest stars in our galaxy, Mr.C is first and foremost, one of us. He’s even got on his hands and knees on past Easter egg hunts. This time round he was last man standing at an after-party that lasted for three days. Richard we salute you!
“Dutchie had a tough act to follow but found his vibe straight away and the room latched onto it like limpets.The whole room had been rammed since Murf ’s set and there was no letting up now.”
Deep, wobbly and off-kilter, but framed with absolute precision, Dutchie rounded off one of our best ever parties like there was no tomorrow. Since then our message boards have been truly Jammed and close party stalwarts like Andy have been inspired to commit their memories to words:
“Happy, smiley, friendly Kerfufflers were all around in this almost utopian atmospere.”
Quite simply, I couldn’t have put it better myself.
By Martyn Rochester & Andy Moore
New Years Day 2012
The end of the beginning – let’s get this party started. Right?
Arriving my customary hour early was no help at all as the bar staff and management were still napping after a big night with the Alabama 3. We soon got Dennis (the Hopper) inflated and got ready for the day. Liz started off proceedings with what was for me one of the best tunes of the year - Jamie Jones’ Can’t go back.
I had just spun my second disc when my son Ben and his two mates appeared rather bleary eyed after a marathon session the night before at Fabric. (He’s now 22 and based on my track record, I really can’t get too parental about these things) I had put together a few of my faves from 2011 - Jay Bliss’ Take me home EP was one, but it was an Audio Soul Project re-rub of a Rob Paine cut on Worship - Remember Garnett from a decade ago that really got my boy’s toes tapping.
Neil Holmes then took over the reins – and that’s probably the correct term considering he was over from Finland where he’s now running a pet hospital with his lovely wife Hanna. Neil did us proper proud with a solid set of Tech-house favorites that brought back the old Sizzle parties he used to play when he was still back in blighty.
Dave Miller looked like a new man with a haircut and smart jacket, but his set was pure classic Miller. He’s a house-head who’s not afraid to take it tech when the moment warrants it. He covered all bases in this groove inspired outing.
I had expected Justin Cookie to throw down a few breaks Bendaleg style, but he knew all too well how deep and dirty we like it here so that ’s exactly what he dished up. Justin’s been out of town for so long I’d almost forgotten how infectious his mixes are to the ears welcome back to the fold mate.
It’s been literally years since I heard Derrick Patterson play and now he’s out on the other side of Kent it’s hard to drag him out. We’ were so glad we did, because his set literally rocked the crowd off their feet. Dropping Positive Education only works when the crowd is ready – they lapped it up like Garfield on a McDonalds milkshake.
Well, if Nick Dare has lost his dog he certainly knows how to get tails wagging. His selection turned up the heat raised the tempo and got us all shaking our moneymakers for all they were worth – in my case about the price of a cold beer.
Great to hear Grant Dell back grooving it up in his own inimitable rolling, bass heavy fashion. Grant and I are both old dance hall reggae nuts and it’s interesting how a few of the tunes from his set are often also sitting in my box - that Popoviciu, Leader & Toygun - Front Groove EP gets me going every time – “if it wasn’t for the music I don’t know what we’d do”. How true.
Straight over from another classic Sub-Club New Year, Harri’s presence boosted our numbers and bolstered our soundwaves. He took us on a journey into sound and drove us all straight back to the scene of the crime like a Glaswegian cabbie on Buckfast. Standout tune for me was Inner City ’s Big Life. It was only later when I pressed him on it that he told be it was a remix by Kenny Hawkes – a lovely warm way to say we’re all missing him. I truly felt blessed.
By Martyn Rochester
Looking back through rose-tinted sunglasses
Kerfuffle Easter 2011
In the beginning there was Jack…If only Jacks House had been there to video stream and record every party we've ever done, you would be able to watch every sticky, hazy happy moment again and again.
We all have our own fond memories of occasions past and, in some way, it is even better to recount your own personal highpoints without the need to have them streamed into your living room any day of the week. But it's rather nice when you can. So sign up to jacks-house.com and you'll be able to see yourself on the dancefloor and everybody from Magnus onwards on the deck duties – what's more you can download all the mixes and enjoy them all over again.
But for those of you who still take the time to scan my ramblings here's what I remember of a very memorable day. As we had bribed the Easter bunny for fantastic weather, we decided to set up the door in the courtyard - so I was glad I'd brought a cap with me to keep the blazing sun off my increasingly ruddy forehead. Stuart brought the party outside by placing a couple of monitors out front so door duty a lot more fun than usual.
It also meant I could listen to some lovely sunny west coast housiness from Liz and a finely crafted warm-up set from Jade Seatle that dished up everything from Chicago to Berlin on a gentle upward curve that got people inside and dancing far faster than the scorchio conditions outside would normally allow.
So by the time I dropped my first tune there were a few people shuffling some gyrating to a few old gems I'd dug out of the crates. It was fun sharing a few favourites with Cedric Maison before he took over - EBE is an extra-terrestial language we both seem to speak fluently. Cedric's expert selection continued to explore a gently rolling otherworldly landscape to a swelling crowd as outside cooled down and inside hotted up.
Magnus Asberg then treated us to a slick couple of hours as the video will testify. You can just about catch me doing my usual trainspotter "what's this?" move. It was some proper catchy vocal hook that got into my head and got everybody else's spinning. By the way Magnus moves in the booth you can see he lives to spin and it sounded that way too.
One of the less exciting live DJ booth views was Tom Gillieron setting up his laptop. Just the cable fixing mind you – Tom himself is always a sight for sore eyes. We've waited a long time to fall under the spell of another of Tom's highly infectious sets, and once again, he didn't disappoint. I had to pull him on a particularly filthy Matthew Jonson track and he kept the quality up right until his laptop began to misbehave – damn PCs - I know Tom's much happier on his trusty old Mac.
Talking to Nick Harris was mostly about stopping myself from jabbering wide-eyed about old NRK tracks that have changed my life – he must get quite a lot of that after all he does run one of the most important house labels in the UK. When he graced the decks Nick played a far broader spectrum than Bristol's best. It was Franck Roger's Bone of my bone that stood out for me.
And then of course there was Eddie Richards. This was one set that I danced all the way through and for Eddie it was a supremely jacking affair that even for the closing set bubbled under beautifully. There wasn't a single shadow of darkness that be even remotely described as unsettling let alone "evil" – just pure happiness all the way – but his last tune was quite twisted.
So there we are – another fantastic Easter had by all – big thanks to Jon and Kelly from Jack's House for capturing our shenanagins for posterity – to Sean for some wicked visuals and that lone figure bobbing in a very bright Easter bonnet. Your hat was certainly worth more to us than your prize so please take a bow.
By Martyn Rochester
Looking back through half closed eyes
Kerfuffle New Years Day 2011
Car crashes. They do have knock-on effects. So when Liz and Steve were hit by a passing double decker on the way to London on the last evening of 2010 things all started to get a bit messy. A bad start you might say, one that, to cut a long story short, prevented me from grabbing the customary couple of hours of shuteye before door opened at six. Liz and Steve were shaken but alive – more than could be said for me for most of the day.
So there I was playing tunes to what remained of the Alabama 3 crowd - a floor that soon started to fill as stragglers stumbled in from the big room. Apparently Jerry Dammers was there although I can't say I spotted that trademark gappy grin. In fact, as anyone who spotted me would testify, my memories of the entire event are a little hazy. I've been told my set went OK. People danced, tunes fused together, but when Jay Affected turned up I was happy to hand over the reins to his steady hands as he dipped deep into his vast back catalogue of underground treats.
Next up, Richie Littler slapped down some dark, dirty vinyl raising both the tempo and the temperature with a selection that was accessible and very danceable without ever resorting to obvious. John Fitzpatrick had done his homework too - just the right blend of groove and tech. He was a fitting precursor to Gabor Naggy who more than lived up to the promise of the innumerable mixes he'd been passing me.
Putting her troubles firmly behind her, Liz showed us all how, even when things are falling apart, she can be relied upon keep her head. As always, she rose to the challenge of playing great tunes to an appreciative audience. Rob Collman has been on fire recently and this night, he burned bright. Rob can take it twisted, sometimes he layers up the classic techno. On the night in question he played 100% Kerfuffle - house tinged minimal groove, punctuated by warm chords that made our ears prick up and got us all away from the bar and onto the floor.
Talking of which, huge apologies to whomever it was that I stumbled into and brought crashing to the ground, spilling drinks and generally annoying less worse for wear punters in the vicinity. Those of you witness to this unfortunate incident should take heart from the fact that, this year, my resolution is to stay awake on the door and stay away from the top shelf – at least until the morning after.
Kevin "Tsuba" Griffiths' appearance was every bit as exciting as his press suggested he would be. His label never disappoints, but it was the sheer range of his influences and the breadth of ground he covered that gave the party a fresh direction and a real injection of energy.
But when it comes to covering ground and keeping the spark going we have to hand it to our very own Denver boys Matty and Tim. They gave us a top back-to-back master class in quality groove. Tim had spent all of New Years Eve stuck in a US airport and I had promised faithfully to make it up to him. Even though I was in no position to offer any after party company later on, he was so well looked after that he almost missed his return flight three days later.
Last set of the night, before Liz gave her customary rendition of "we shall not be moved" to the looming bouncers, was Steve Chamberlain. Even whiplash, a wrecked Audi and the fact that he was in no way prepared for such an honour, Steve stepped up to the mark and showed us that even a man from Portsmouth was truly born to ride the Tracktor.
Until we meet again folks – thanks for not posting too many embarrassing shots of my stumblings.
By Martyn Rochester
August Bank Holiday 2010
As Stewart and I were taking the routemaster down Brixton Hill, horizontal gale force blizzards were strafing the pavements. So we were both a little skeptical about whether our own corner of carnival was really likely to be feeling hot, hot, hot.
Steve Chamberlain's arrival with the Allen and Heath half and hour into my set proved a bit of a false start, but with my second wind came the news that our second guest Marc Ashken had been unavoidably detained. I rarely get the chance to play my own party for three hours, so thanks Marc. Even though the warm up is often regarded the graveyard shift, the sight of my three year old daughter Tita pulling faces and throwing shapes in front of Dennis, our inflatable space hopper (don't worry parents, she'd just popped in to use the loo), to say nothing of Kaz's ever appreciative whooping and hollering ensured we got the party started right.
Straight off the plane from a triumphant night in Bulgaria, Liz took up the slack and tightened up the tunes. Although she won't thank me for biggin' her up, it's got to be said…Since the days of Dorset beach parties and Stumblin' Blonde I've watched Liz grow from strength to strength, so it's nice to know she's now seen as a top player as well as an ever-present mover and shaker.
I've always been wary of the term "intelligent techno", but, for the time he played, Miles Sagnia's mellifluous blend of Detroit and Berlin inspired melodica was a sundowner no-brainer for our fast-filling floor. He's currently showing the motor city just how talented our own homegrown roster can be. So watch out Juan and Carl, it's the future sound of Farnham that's really pushing our buttons these days.
Our perennial party girl, Louise, L.E. Bass then toughened up proceedings with the kind of thumping set that got the sofa surfers back on board and even the hardened smokers in from the terrace to hear what all the fuss was about. As usual Louise brought half of Norf London with her – with her kind of no-nonsense selection it's small wonder she commands more support than the Emirates stadium.
After a challenging year by anyone's standards it was great to hear Grant Dell back on top form. His recent reggae compilations are the seldom off my CD player back home, but his own demonstration of how it takes techno and house artfully fused together to create proper tech-house, made the old adage, you can't keep a good man down ring true.
When even self-confessed vinyl junkies like Richard Grey are riding the Tracktor you know it's time to ramp up the downloads. Our original party guest and unfailing barometer of good taste made the Funktion One sing with a more tech inspired set than I was expecting. But the way he dropped Jamie Jones' Summertime created a stir and an anthem that would make even the greyest summer evening glow. Better than anything Café Del Mar or Space could offer.
With Liz rounding off proceedings with even more top-class plastic I was left to reflect on what a particularly good year it's been for us Kerfufflers. With the exception of the sad news that pioneering party animal, Gwyn Morgan had recently passed away, the day went down as one of our classics. With past Dex nightmares behind us, it's great to see that you all keep coming back for the friendly faces, warm vibes and great tunes rather than boutique hotel and hot tub facades. See you all back at ours for the 2011celebrations.
By Martyn Rochester
As long as it's groovy.
Kerfuffle Whitsunday 2010
Blazing sun, billowing banners, tangled wire's, gaffa tape, a handful of the less obvious tunes Liz and I play to each other before anyone arrives. The day showed every sign of shaping up into our usual Sunday excursion into doof- doof-la-la land. But this one was destined to be a bit special. As we started spinning, the main thing on both our minds was how we were ever going to scrape enough wonga together to pay for the star-studded line-up we'd booked to play. On the day it wasn't a question of outlay, it was a lesson that real quality doesn't come cheap.
The long drive from Pompey saw Lawrence Reed drop his bag in with just minutes to spare, but he lost no time in boxing up the beats and getting a proper tech groove going. After blowing everyone away at my birthday bash I knew he was right on my tip and the moment he dropped that Martin Landsky Poker Flat tune early arrivals were made fully aware of what we were here to do - get this party started.
We'd arranged Lief Knowles to play an afternoon set and that's exactly what he delivered. My ears pricked up to the golden glow of the West Coast with that all too often ignored killer ingredient, the vocal sample. Considering he's better known for dubbier and bleepier sounds his set came as a refreshing surprise. Call me old fashioned, but it's great to see that some of us still the courage of conviction to leave climbing over the Berlin wall to well after the sun's gone down.
Pure Science had already called ahead to say he was running late, so I felt it was the least I could do to grab Stuart and ensure we were fully prepared to help him put together the various bit of kit he uses for his live sets – and something to put it on. Apologies to the unsuspecting unfortunates quietly sitting next to the only available table. I handed them their drinks and made off with the central focus of their social circle - only to rather shamefacedly bring it back only moments later. Seldom has the phrase "Sorry we have a table emergency!" been met with such frosty faces. In the end, Phivos' ability to quietly get on with the real business dishing up pure quality minus any fuss made me look, by comparison, like Basil Fawlty on sulphate.
Now I've seen the arrival of some big names over the many years we've been throwing our shindig, but this was the first time ever a crowd has given a unanimous standing ovation even before that someone stepped up to the decks. But there again, Bob De Rosa is rather special – these days he limits his appearances. And with so many of our more seasoned regulars sorely missing Bob's particular blend of classic and obscure delights, excitement was at fever pitch. He spent the next two hours throwing candy to a sugar-starved kindergarten. Thanks Bob, that was truly one of the best received sets I've had the pleasure of being party to.
So how do you follow that? Well, if your name is Charles Webster you go your own way, in your own style – or perhaps I should say you show us what great dance music is all about, if you look beyond narrow definitions of style and media created genre labels. I've lovingly collected every Charles Webster tune I could get my hands on over the past 20 years – but I only recognized a couple in the two hours of heaven he dished up for us. The absolute highlight for me was "I love music". Now that's a man who plays from the heart.
You'd think that would round off most nights nicely – but we don't do things by halves in spacehopper land. During his days at Tag and Black Market, Corrie has sold me some gems – he's even given me discs from his own collection because he knew I would really appreciate them. Over the years he's got a very accurate sense of exactly the kind of filthy, low slung, soul stirring stuff I go crazy for. That night he didn't play anything else. How many birthdays and Christmases roll can you roll into a couple of hours? How many life-affirming treats can you pack into twelve hours?
How many parties have we done now? In all this time I've only missed one – I thank my luck stars that this wasn't it.
By Martyn Rochester
Storm in an eggcup Kerfuffle Easter 2010
Easter has long been one of the key dates of the spacehopper year and all the signs looked good for our first foray onto a sunny terrace and into the warm sounds of the new Funktion 1 rig. Despite making the most of the Bank Holiday weekend (I'd been on the lash since early Thursday) Liz arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed, treating us all to some lush house vocals and golden chords.
By the time Arkala stepped up to the decks we already had a room full of smiley faces and nodding heads to get the party going. With the latest remix of Aaron Carl's My House and a few other well chosen gems she soon had the beats boxed in and the crowd tapping their toes.
I couldn't wait to get my hands on that Funktion 1 mixer. It made Ekkohouse and Julian Chaptal sound even crisper and gave some of the more booming bottom end tunes the kind of punch that rekindled my love for 4/4 kicks. It's always reassuring to see people bobbing around to your tunes so having a NYC Tunnel Club veteran throwing shapes and moving his feet all over the gaff gave me the confidence to really let rip.
Up next was Stitch who's digital selection sounded just as warm as the vinyl we'd been spinning thanks to Stuart our Sound Engineer's complete mastery of the new rig. Along with Sean's inspired fluffy visuals and an egg hunt that put a few more seasonal treats on or rather under the table spring really was busting out all over.
Fear of Flying label stablemates, Jay Massive and BLM then gave us a masterclass in twisted, off-kilter house. Not only was their selection completely lacking in the obvious, even the most learned musicologists among us were hard placed to name any of the tunes they were dishing up.
James Britton followed by Jamie Bawn, then gave us a couple of hours of pure sarf coast sunshine by serving up a double 99 with all the toppings. Once again, the quality and diversity of the sounds they whipped up caused a storm in an egg cup reminiscent of a force seven over the Solent.
Brighton's original bad bwoy Magnus Asberg then took the energy on the floor up a notch with some proper cutting edge house. His take on soul infused groove has won him gigs everywhere from the Concorde to the Ministry and he judged the mood perfectly to turn a room of nodding heads into a sea of hands.
Mud Club head honcho Harvey Bailey then took us on a luxury cruise with a top seat at the Captain's table. His ship-shape selection took us higher than the yard arm and deeper than an ocean trench. That's Bognor booked for my holidays this year.
And with a very respectable array of Easter bonnets bobbing around a floor that was, by this time, more packed than a suitcase on Easy Jet, the scene was set for Kenny Hawkes to take the reins. Once again Kenny launched us in a new direction with a decade's worth of Space classics from all ends of the musical spectrum.
With Liz rounding off the day with some rousing end of the night imprints all agreed that we'd witnessed yet another classic Easter bank holiday. Sometimes it all comes together, and with the perfect mix of bodies in motion, to say we were happy bunnies is putting it mildly.
By Martyn Rochester
Bleak House – 10 years of Years Day Kerfuffling
The press promised "company warmer than McCauber's muffler" - once again our party faithful didn't let us down. The discarded debris of the previous evening's Alabama Sheep on Drugs fest has left our hosts a little world-weary. So the opening minutes saw me simultaneously sweeping up, minding the door and attempting to warm up a tepid pool of stale beer to the sound of the Desolat Xmas sampler. At least Guy and Jay's early appearance stopped me noodling away entirely to myself. Liz eventually limped in almost two hours late, but after blending a few lovely opening gambits, all was forgiven.
Welcome West Coast warmth was introduced by Giom, his Gallic appetite for a feast of spine-tingling house gems was greedily devoured by the fast-swelling throng like a moule-soaked baguette. Half of our eagerly anticipated bad bwoy duo, Dutchie, overcame the sad but unavoidable absence of Mark Nevern with some real class of 2009. Anyone who spins both of the recent John Tejada Pallette imprints is AOK in my book.
This time Peter Gregory appeared without his customary Goldie Looking Chain outfit. Thus unable to so much as doff a cap to our Dickensian theme, he found himself disqualified from the Tiny Tim look-alike competition. Thankfully his tune selection was every bit as good as his artfully comic banter. Moreover, the winning duo of Mark Woon's jaunty cravat and Mickey Vespre's tartan trew/Rupert Bear jumper combo was an unforeseen treat.
James Tomson teaming up with his latest oppo Jonno is testament that being an all-round top party geezer attracts top talent. He's a longstanding spacehopper supporter so it's nice to hear how well he's now being supported. Next up, supersonic Ashley Casselle fired off the full Muffin Bazooka with some classic East Village electronica antics. His inimitable ablility to dish up non-stop party nonsense found some fine moments of clarity.
The diminutive Fabulous Frank gave us all a welcome break from the 4-4 thump with an eclectically energetic set. She brought in House Nation to whoops of approval and I suspect that the impromptu conga that started snaking around the lounge may have had something to do with her innate sense of fun.
And as for Natalie Croker, we do like to pride ourselves on the sheer quality of the talent we have in our fold. So how is that every time she plays for us, no matter who else is on the bill so many people come up to me to bend by ear about how just well she plays. Looks like you've got a busy year ahead of you girl.
Having recently been relieved of my door duties by the irrepressible Kaz, I must admit to having missed much of Alex Downey's fine set. I did however catch strains of Acid Eiffel, suggesting that he had taken proceedings deeper than Scrooge's pockets.
And that takes us neatly to the real man of the match – he's not just good he's Ebenezer Good. Even if Eddie "the Evil" Richards had, in a parallel universe, carved an alternative career as a champion ski jumper, he couldn't have rounded off the proceedings with more panache.
Even without fingerless mittens, he filled the room with enough expert knob twiddling to make even my freshly shaven jaw drop. Eddie's trusty Saab 900 had earlier given up the ghost of Xmas past, just as he turned into Brixton Road. It was left to AJ and myself to push his motor into the car park. His set more than made up for all the shivering and if Liz hadn't sorted the breakdown cover, we'd have happily carried him all the way home to Milton Keynes on our shoulders.
As Eddie had to dash off at the sight of the Green Flag, Liz stepped up to the marque
to drop yet more filthy twisted tunage. Her resolute determination to stand firm against the dark forces of impatient door security, while slipping in yet another cheeky encore, made 16B's Water Ride sound even sweeter. Nobody pulls the plug on our Liz!
And to think it was just ten years ago that Spaced 1999 marked our first foray into the New Year's all-dayer. These days every martini swilling mullet from Hoxton to Hemel 'empstead is on the after-party scene. But we've all been doing it since way before it was trendy.
By Martyn Rochester
Steamed, boiled then lightly poached - reminiscences of
August Bank Holiday Karnival 2009 @ Dex
From Buju Banton to Philly via New Yorkian soul, Sean Royal's laptop established the scene for Sarf London's very own carnival. Who needs to be steamed in Notting Hill when you can chill on our terrace to ice cool bank holiday flavours like the Maytal's Rastaman.
With Terry Francis having a few technical laptop issues I seized the chance to step in with a few of my own funky slices. Hearing Loose Ends over a proper rig all these years on made my day, but it took Terry dropping the Floaters to get the sun decks really spinning for me.
Talk of the need for a cordless mike had me wondering what Paul "Homer" Stubbs had up his sleeve. His platinum vintage selection had the crowd whooping to Jamie Principal's Baby wants to ride. Complete with the silky owenesque vocals of Tempo O'Neil riding the rhythms, this was Kerfuffle school disco dressed up in velvet blazers and spandex shorts.
After calling us early to say he's totally overdone it the night before, it was touch and go whether Redz was ever going to show. By the time he eventually appeared his straw trilby was back on at a jaunty angle and his wake up call raised our energy levels better than a brimming bucketful of hangover remedies.
As the first one on in the main room I had a few stalwarts nodding as they propped up the bar, but my primetime boomers sounded a little, well, booming to my own ears. It took the finely tuned ear of Alex Arnout to get the brighter aspects of the sonics shining through. His selection was perfectly paces for the time and place and if you could call it minimal, less is most certainly more.
Rob Pearson's set was, as ever, a showcase of the technical wizardry that's won him his well-earned place as one of the key figures in the London underground. He's kindly sent us a recording he made of it which you can download right now from the Kerfuffle Facebook page.
Always unassuming and ever self-effacing Louise (L.E.) Bass admitted feeling a little nervous prior to her set. From the moment she grabbed the faders there was little doubt who was in control. Loads of compliments were flooding my way about you Lou. I was only too happy to accept them on your behalf.
Another stand out set was Luke VB. This man's parties alongside Mr C are already the stuff of legend and the way he dished twisted tones via slice after slice of pure subterrania was a real off kilter treat.
With one leg up in plaster after a bad break that's seen Darren Roach holed up for months, we needed to fetch a stool to give the man a little extra support. His inimitable fusion of acid and future funk had me on my feet for hours. If he'd had two legs to stand on he'd have been really dangerous.
I've got just about everything that Phivos Pure Science has ever released. This night he was either tweaking it all beyond recognition or he's been really busy cooking up more of his own gourmet blend of aural transmutation. Yet again his sounds had this Philosopher completely stoned.
There was a tune out a couple of years ago with a vocal sample "somehow it's all got twisted". With Terry spinning my head way beyond the outer limits, another famous house-ism sprang to mind " this ain't Chicago". His techno laden excursion was the kirsch infused cherry on the top of a layercake of deliciously fecund stabs and grimy pads. As one of our fold often puts it – utter filth!
By Martyn Rochester
Whitsun Bank Holiday 2009
Boom time in the boom room
A fiercely hot Sunday saw me sitting on the terrace soaking up the sun with a cold beer long before the Jamm opened. With Matty and Tim arriving straight off the plane from Denver it was hard to fathom how they had managed to pack so much infectious energy and positivity in their flight cases. Liz started off the proceedings with liquid D&B and fluid house while I did my usual trawl around for staples and gaffer tape.
The late start gave me just half an hour to spin before Simon Page treated the early birds to an engaging and eclectic House FM selection. Occasionally I have been spotted approaching the decks to stroke my beard and quietly ask what's being played. Simon is only the second guest ever to give me the tune as soon as he mixed out of it – so thanks mate. That Moritz Piske MP3 has been on repeat back at mi casa ever since.
Kelly Wainwright's selection also got me asking questions. Tartlet No 3 by MHZ was right up our cul-de-sac and I'll definitely be checking out wherever gets his tunes from – hope it's nears to his native Portsmouth (my new neck of the woods). Kelly's oppo Kiwi proper ripped up the floor too – I'm eagerly anticipating those Isle of Wight beach parties fella.
I've already mentioned just how nice it was to have Matty & Tim as part of crew for the night. When they stepped up to the wheels they took us all higher than a rocky mountain ski lift. It's always great to welcome distant members of an ever-growing family. These boys regaled me with tales of Wyatt Erp and DJ Fox then shot from the hip like Jesse James and Billy the Kid packing a brace of Uzis.
She's got to be one of the best looking spinstesses we've welcome into our fold, but more importantly, Maya Jane Coles' twisted electronica was also a complete aural delight. I'm looking forward to hearing more of her at Liz's new chicks with decks night Siren.
We often refer to him as our left hand man and Kleo never disappoints. Once again he did the honours by continuing to build the vibe on an increasingly sweaty floor holding the party in the sofa room even after we'd fired up another 20k of sound next door. Moving a party in full swing from one room to another is not your usual mid party fare, but taking a giant inflatable spacehopper on an excursion across a packed dance floor ensured I was in the right place at the right time to catch J-Jeff's fine early boom room set. He's an accomplished groove meister, but this time it was a real education to hear all his prime time thumpers.
Eddie Richards has played for us on some woeful rigs in the past so it was great too give him the kind of sound his inimitable talent so richly deserves. Stuart our long suffering sound engineer gave it his all to ensure Eddie's amazing collection of prime digital files came across loud and clear – who says tunes have gotta be flat and round.
By Martyn Rochester
May 3 rd 2009 at Dex
It all started quite placidly with a terrace bathed in golden midday light as I started by helping the sound guys locate the source of an annoying loose plank that threatened to knock needles out of the mellow groove we were so keen to create. That Roy Ayres standard Everybody Loves the Sunshine seemed an appropriate starting point at the time. Summer Breeze would have been more apt as within minutes, a chilly crosswind saw slipmats flying every time there wasn't slab of vinyl in place to pin them down. John Charlie Feathers kept things groovy encouraging the assembling throng to get on with the business of shuffling to his artfully blended array of funk soul and house.
Sparkie M'larkie maintained the pace with a smorgasboard of sounds ranging from warm mellow and to angular and acidic. As Liz took over the reins, west coast vibes took the terrace on a mellow and mellifluous sortee that treated the crowd to a number of heart warming sonic shots even when coats and jumpers were required.
With the decks now moved into the centre of the Funktion One room, Richie Littler's Grease is the word quiff stood out as far in front as his eclectic selection. He got the party moving to some sinuous melodic techno and by the time he dropped Don't Look Back, heads were well and truly down and some serious shape throwing was being silhouetted against Sean's throbbing wall of visuals.
From her earlier appearance at Friday's Evasive bash we knew Kirsten was on fine form. Her set for us re-formed the four-four into new angles that pointed the way ever deeper. Surprisingly sharp and fresh from his Positive/Wiggle weekender, Simon Atkinson treated us all to yet another masterclass in the good and he great from the past few years. Peter O kept the pace steady and the tone twisted to a room that was fast getting as slippery and wet as a tub of jellied eels.
And then there was Grant. He ripped it up for us last year and this time he layered up chords of deepness contrasted against angular asymmetic beats breaking through like greenstick fracture (sic). Colin rounded off the night with a selection that was slung lower than a drag-racer's dungarees. If you imagined Vic and Bob doing a pub-singing rendition of Flat Eric on nitrous you may some close to some of the off-kilter gems he was dishing up.
As we packed away our headphones to seek the sanctuary of a whole series of bedroon farces, even the more reticent among us were force to agree that Brian-rixton's very own boutique had once again held host to some thoroughly agreeable sonic nonsense.
By Martyn Rochester
Kerfuffle Easter All –dayer
April 12 th 2009
The Mad Hatters Ball @ the Jamm
Well it was my birthday so forgive me if some of the key facts are omitted but here goes…
I arrived as usual with a spring in my step and a remarkably clear head considering
that, just three days earlier, I had staggered out of Asad's Orbital clash a little the worse for wear. As Sean got the Easter bunnies and spacehoppers jumping with his all-new VJ station Liz did a stirling job of warming up the cold steel wheels with pure gold - Black Action Committee just has to be noted.
Peter Gregory then took us on a lovely lush ride down tech-house memory lane with some warm mellow vocals and lilting, spacey rhythms. (what's that amazing Sade remix again Peter?) I played a little later than my usual early set and so took the opportunity to drop a few slices of acid house. As the place was filling up nicely even Deep Inside didn't seem out of place.
If I took it from laid back to upfront, JJ took it the rest of the way to get a packed house in a proper party mood. By this time there were some rather spectacular Easter bonnets strutting around. The tinsel conical affair with a dangling egg was inspired, as was the mother hen's nest surrounded by chicks. Tamsin and Mandy had both gone to a great effort and Ant was a great late Easter Bunny (he was late for very important date). But in the end it was Maria our official party snapper who stole the show with a massive OTT titfer was quite simply beatable. That's two to Maria and two to Tamsin - come on girls give someone else a chance!
Jen Gannon played some hip swivelling grooves to a very complimentary crowd and Tom Baker's robust and rock solid grooves judged the mood and the vibe with the nose of a seasoned professional. Whatever Nick Dare was playing it sounded even better than his
recent top quality imprints. He certainly won over even more hearts for his ever-growing harem.
To hear our man Pure Science tweaking up a storm with his live antics was more than enough to make everyone overlook the minor power issues that silenced proceedings for a few moments, but I guess that's what happens when you try to plug that much raw power and sheer talent into a pub power circuit.
And then there was the ladies' favourite himself - Richard Grey. So glad we had such a packed house and such an accomplished knob twiddler that and extra hour and then another thirty minute on top was the only possible choice for both the venue and everyone both inside and outside of it. Was it just our most packed and happiest Easter ever, or was it just the best birthday I've had in more years than I would care to mention?
Let us know what you think.
By Martyn Rochester
Kerfuffle New Years Day 2009
Arriving brighter and bushier tailed than some years I would like to remember, the 3.00pm start at least delayed topping up the modest excess of my previous evenings revelries. Most sane and sound folk were probably serving up a roast dinner as I tried to fill the early room with lush sounds rather than cavernous thumps, It's hard not to bring up the beats when you're warming up the rig and some of the tunes that sounded easy to the point of pipe and slippers back home were booming away like an orchestra of Rank gongs.
Thankfully Liz tamed the kicks with some well-conceived mellowness that referenced most of the ten years we've now been dishing up new years' after-parties. From classic Hard Hands to some of the more relaxed musical moments of O8 she helped us all throw away our early resolutions as the deepening throng of spotters now holding onto the bar joined in some serious beard nodding and toe tapping.
Warwick Arthur has partied with us for a few years now so he knew the score and delivered a rousing line in sinewy beats and warm chords. Richie Littler brought in the new with some first footing electronica. Brett Johnson's Uncle Big Boy raised the temperature and got even the stragglers going and by the time Kleo took over we were ready to savour the left field flavours of his tasty acid house drops.
Darren Roach took us far beyond his Studio Tec imprint with a nicely crafted mixture
of emotive and elating gems. From the moment Phivos Pure Science started wiring up his Mac on the tall bar table he's so long made his home, we knew we were musically homeward bound. Like some post millennium alchemist, he was completely in his element.
Dave Mothersole is capable of taking any dancefloor in so many different directions he's the spaghetti junction of house/techno gyratory systems. This time the way was pure onwards and upwards as he dug deep beyond classic grooves masterfully keeping it bubbling under like his first mix tape that blew me away some fourteen years ago.
The massive advantage of manning our door is you don't spend so much of your day on an icy smoking terrace. I was right there on the dance floor so I didn't miss any of the fantastic holiday vibe that was flowing so freely. I just hope my blissful expression reflected the warm welcome you all gave us. Its great to know that even though its getting colder out there, we can still look forward to yet another year of great get togethers. Roll on Easter, I can't wait for the Mad Hatter's ball.
By Martyn Rochester
The Dawn of the Dead
Kerfuffle 1 st November 2008
Most parties are meant to blow away the cobwebs. This one had Liz and I draping spiders, bats and webs up in the Jamm belfry for hours before any of our ghouls got it together to rise from the grave. We came armed with masks, face paint and vampire fangs but at the end of the day none of us needed too much embellishment. As Ritchie put it: "Hey mate can I borrow your face for Halloween".
My warm-up was gradually building from Kerrie Chandler to John Tejada when a worried sound engineer approached me to ask whether I would mind turning it down because someone was trying to play and acoustic set next door. I'm normally affable and mild mannered but I've got to admit to a Count Dracula snarl at that point.
With the room filling with assorted witches and blood spattered zombies, we had a few fancy dressers worthy of note. Mark Woon's slipknot mask just kept getting more and more scary especially when he was still wearing it on Monday morning. The guy who had run up his own Dracula cape complete with red silk lining put my Somerfield special to shame and the shadowy East European with the blacked-out face was different kind of horror show. And no, he hadn't come as a chimney sweep from Mary Poppins.
John Patrick did a fine job getting the monitors pumping again with a white hot warm-up set gleaned from too many mis-spent hours of worship at West Croydon 's temple of tech-house. He was the first to drop at least one of the mixes of Nick Dare's huge Dub People EP. Between him, Luke and Asad I think we heard all four versions by the end of the night.
Deby Carter showed us what we've been missing all these years with a rock solid set
of pure 24 carat Kerfuffle classics. She's been busy laying floors when al this time she could have been filling them. Next up, Luke McKeehan gave us a shining showcase of what's happening in his Nordic stable, plus a very entertaining catch up on what's been happening in the Canadian scene over a well-earned pint afterwards.
Asad Rizvi then graced the decks wearing a rather fetching Boris Johnson wig – he later claimed to have lost his blond barnet in a cynical bid to claim the special prize - a life sized vampire bat. (there have since been allegations of horrific bat abuse, but let's leave that one and focus on the quality of his tune selection) He's is so self–effacing, he seldom drops any of his own tunes. Whatever he pulled from his bag that night was the ideal blend of tech and groove to keep the monsters moving. It was a graveyard smash.
And the dawn crept up all to fast. That's the only problem with all-nighters – nobody wants to go home in the daylight. Well, not looking like that anyway.
By Martyn Rochester
Life's a beach
Our aftersun burn-out Sat August 23rd
@ the Dex Club
Well we did promise fine weather for our end of August deckathon and for the best part of it, that's exactly what we got. Tamsin had predicted a basinful of plucked chickens sprawled across the hot tub and although some came fully armed with shorts and towels, thankfully no one was brave enough to actually dip a toe.
But with the barbeque blazing and a white linen clad terrace bar looking more like a Monaco hotel than Brixton rooftop, Mickey's inimitable funk, soul and reggae set soon got the early birds strutting. With Liz feeling poorly I hogged a double set tucking into a stash of seven inch-oldies before the need to mix and match beats and bleeps proved just too hard to resist.
Terry Francis had put hours into preparing his much anticipated Ableton live funk and soul sortie, but as he'd somehow managed to leave his hard drive at home it was hard cheddar for us. Even a cab ride to Kingston and back couldn't produce the goods. Thankfully Paul "Homer" Stubb's lovingly crafted classic house set eased our frustration and even with just one and a half speakers pumping out a stomp down memory lane, the contents of Mr Swag's bag really did us all proud.
By the time we'd all knocked back our sundowners and ~Mickey had treated us to a brilliant encore, James Thomson was treating us to an underground tour that filled the entire inside floor. Richie Littler continued upping the ante, smoothly blending one of the best melodic techno and off-kilter house sets I've heard all year.
Alison Marks then tweaked up a minimal tech final scratch frenzy that had us all throwing more shapes than treading grapes. Kleo kept an increasingly sweaty crowd moving with another of his well crafted hi-tech meets dirty low down groove soundscapes.
Demarkus Lewis showed his US deep house roots laying down the chords and raising the temperature to boiling point. And then as if we thought it couldn't get any better a back-to-back double act of epic proportions - Richard Grey and Terry Francis. blissed us all out and provided a finale that, even after a fifteen hour marathon had every last one of us shouting for just "one more."
So what did happen behind close doors in those hotel rooms? Those of you who were there will know all about who lost their shoes, composure and the last vestiges of their self-respect. For the rest of you - what happens at Kerfuffle stays at Kerfuffle, so Shhhh!
By Martyn Rochester
Looking back with a smiley face
Whitsunday All-dayer May 25 th 2008
Calling a party Love Summer at what was not quite the end of May was possibly a little ambitious. Thankfully, that big yellow thing came out for long enough to keep the smokers comfortable and to give an Ibiza ambience to the overspill for what became one of our busiest and best-spirited parties so far.
Liz kicked off the proceedings as Lee, Nathan and the post-Brighton contingent arrived nice an early to get us going. After jumping onto the wheels, I was halfway through a mix when Stuart, our sound engineer, politely enquired whether I could turn it down - some bands were doing an acoustic set next door (acoustic what?). Needless to say the volume kept creeping in the opposite direction.
Good thing too, because next up was top Swag punter Danny Chicago who took us on a seamless journey through so much sunny loveliness that the smiles inside were broader than the smileys on our flyer. Mr Bombis-bastic Paul Donton then showed us what all the fuss was about by putting in a very solid show of Kerfuffletastic tunage. After all, he and Ritchie have been putting all our mixes on myspace, so he certainly knows the score.
Peter O then treated us all to a taste of his Monophunk magic as he moved the crowd between twisted electonica and incessant, driving groove. After that, Pure Science made a bigger than ever sound from the micro-studio he managed to squeeze behind the decks. The compression on those kicks just keeps sounding better and better.
All those years of DIY parties have honed Rick Digs skills to a level that even our seasoned crowd could really appreciate . He's been flying the house flag since from the beginning and that's exactly what he served up - the crown jewels of rare house gems. Great after-show antics too Rick, you're a proper party animal.
True gentleman and mild mannered tech-house janitor Simon Atkinson then took our summer theme to the beach before surfing a few retro soundwaves in day glow shorts.
So who could possibly follow that? Eddie Richards tecked it out, layered it up and took it well beyond the limit with an unrelenting march of filthy beats. We were so rammed by that point that we stayed open another hour after Ed packed away his box of tricks. Going back-to-back after the meister was never going to be easy. He's a very hard act to follow.
By all accounts and some very warm feedback, yet another top party thanks to so many of you who keep on choosing to make each bank holiday even better than the last. Can't wait 'till August at the Dex - can you?
By Martyn Rochester
Something more than expected for the weekend
Kerfuffle May 4th 2008
Checking the venue out before the event it looked absolutely huge. The decking sprawled across the roof terrace leading to a second level that we could neither see nor imagine being ever being filled. On the day, the sun kept disappearing behind clouds, rain threatened to spit on the terrace decks and the first two hours felt like having a Sunday pint in a quiet village pub.
Jane Turner provided some cool alfresco funk and soul as the tables filled and the sun warmed our backs. By the time John Charlie Feathers stepped up to the wheels to take us back to a time when funk met house, the lower sun deck was looking more like high season Brighton Pier. As Joel Brittain and Dave Miller started to make our new home into the house, the outside area was heaving. We'd done what seemed impossible just a couple of hours ago – we'd filled up Brixton's newest, most sprawling venue. Liz continued the outside mayhem with an all too short set of Swag classics before I had to attend to some housekeeping.
After unravelling a huge nest of spaghetti to get another lead to connect an extra Pioneer CD deck upstairs, a quick check on the inside room revealed a total absence of slip mats. That's the problem with being a local - it was up the hill on a bus to grab mine, inwardly cursing that every minute it took was another off my set. By the time I returned Redz had so many people packed between the terrace decks and the chill-out tent that people were dancing right up the stairs. Small wonder he played on for an extra hour.
After trying to get some close friends to the front of the queue, security told me I'd used up all my favours. It was one in - one out from them on – bad luck for the dozen or so mates who texted to see what we could do – but great news for the party. It was my turn to warm up the big room so I fired up the magnificent K1 system with some prime time thumpers. There were enough new arrivals wondering where the cloakroom and the rest of the party was to have a few shape-throwing hip swivellers across the floor and a few regulars keeping me company. That was two rooms up and running - could it get any better?
The answer was a resounding "yes". Nick Dare held my crowd and turned it into a seething throng of hands-in-the-air party movers with his upwardly spiralling blend of groove tech. Darren and Spencer had brought along enough of their own party faithfuls to fill in any gaps the downstairs room that had allowed some kind of easy bar
access. From then on, the big room was rammed tighter than a Johnnie Vegas tank top.
After numerous meanderings up and down endless stairs and steps I checked the rapidly increasing heat and darkening tone of the main floor. Nat C had cast her spell over a sea of smiling faces – such a tough no-nonsense groove for one who looks so pale and interesting.
And then it was Grant Dell's turn. I've got to say that he just could not put a foot wrong.
As every tune he dropped upped the ante a few more notches, my feet were finding all the right steps on an increasingly sticky floor. He set such a fierce standard that Kenny Hawkes had quite an act to follow. He quickly rose to the occasion with some proper filthy music for freaks, rounding off a perfect all-day-and-half-the-nighter with enough twisted deepness to make us all feel like we'd done ten rounds with an aural Tyson chewing our ears.
What a day – what a night. Thanks to just about everyone in South London being there we've got another fantastic afternoon and evening in store for August Bank Holiday Saturday. Don't forget your baggies – this time jumping in that hot tub will be absolutely mandatory!
By Martyn Rochester
An eggstravaganza in retrospect.
Our later than never 3.00pm opening at least gave me the chance to report the break-in that had happened at home in the early hours of Sunday morning. The police had visited before Liz and I had a chance to get our party heads on. So I lost myself in a warm up that took at least took my mood from sub-zero to Nero in two hours. Wasn't he the one who knob-twiddled while Rome burned?
Olsi Rama ,hot on the heels of Liz took us on a lush techtronica ride that got more hips swivelling than a prosthetic pelvis tester. Richie Littler was on fine form covering a diverse terrain that journeyed from the West coast to the Rhineland (you pronounce in Geeermany) like Alan Whicker on a scouse busman's holiday.
Tom Parris (he of the big white phones) dropped a few personal favourites, throwing Paperclip People in among a clutch of warm chords and chilli-hot hats – he's obviously been cooking up something very tasty in his studio.
Another showcase for his own creations, Rob Pearson was keeping the pioneer CD decks cooler than a vodka looge with a succession of his soon-to be-released shots. They all kicked like a tech-horse-mule.
L.E. Bass – boy that girl can groove! Her set veered in a west-coasterley direction sounding housier than a than a sun downer on the veranda in Vermont.
Tom Gillerion may look like a rock star answering his e-mails, but the sounds he pushed out of his Mac Powerbook were sheer heaven - don't stay in Albania too long we're ready for an encore.
After taking the mickey out of Gideon Jackson's giant diver's watch I had to concede that he needed to be confident of his timing even at three atmospheres he took it so deep and dirty. He even fished in his bag for a spare Outta Da Blue record sleeve at the end when I told him I had one of his tunes without a cover. What a hero.
An as for the twenty boys-in-blue who took it upon themselves to pay us a surprise visit, the fire escapes were clear, the toilets were clean and the whole crowd was on such best behaviour that they had to turn on their heels and go. Imagine that even a year ago. It almost makes you grateful for the smoking ban. You see – break ins maybe, but nothing broken really.
By Martyn Rochester
Kerfuffle New Years Day 2008
With Liz in Portugal I was glad that my old mate Mark Woon was there for emotional support and to take his turn on the door while I inflated the hopper and got the decks warmed up for the first two hours. A handful of party stalwarts slipped in and started nodding their heads as I spun a succession of past party favourites. By the time
Cat'n'AJ stepped up to take their turn and up the ante, the bar was bustling and I had already broken New Year's resolution No 1 by ignoring all good intentions to pace myself.
Richie Littler raised the Swag flag as he took us on a tour of the good and the great from Kerfuffle's extended record box. He was also a huge help in organising this particular bash. I'm not sure which particular tune pressed the get up and dance button for the casual observers but it certainly did the trick. After being hugely impressed by Kirsten 's silky smooth spinning skills at our Easter bash I was properly blown away by her New Year set. What a shame Stuart's hard disc recorder didn't quite make it out in time to capture the magic.
After a desperate dash over from Brighton and major traffic pains, Alex Downey arrived to make us all mourn the demise of Covert, his own take on what proper house music really is and how it should be served up. The true hero of the day however, has got to be Kleo . After texting to tell me his good lady was going into labour, he still turned up and kept a clear head while dropping enough filthy twisted acid tunage to totally mess with ours.
While Pure Science was treating the assembled throng to the most amazing sonic rendition ever to come out of an etch-a-sketch, I was busy trying to bribe security to allow us to stay open 'till 2am . Kaz 's attempts to give Martin Whelan a beer bath didn't help at the time, but as she retained her reputation as the best door keeper in underground London and we went into extra time, all is forgiven.
If only I could have got off so lightly. As Murf whipped up a frenzy of techno knob twiddling, I made a right royal twat of myself. Tripping over a bag strap I fell in slow motion, grabbed the console, knocked the needle off the record and brought the whole party to a two-second standstill. There's always one!
Colin Dale finished off the proceedings by taking us all to the outer limits and back. A true pillar of the party, he arrived early and got on the dancefloor before turning it into a writhing mass of Keith Haring jelly babies. They say start as you mean to go on – if only someone could offer me a little advice on how to stop.
By Martyn Rochester
Ten years after. Post-birthday bleariness
Sound checking a total of 14 musicians meant my Friday started around 6 with so much waiting around and so many kit and cable issues I felt like more of a gaffer monkey than Saxondale By the time we were ready to meet the public. Phil our chief flyer designer came over to help me attach one thousand fluttering pieces of cardboard to the ceiling via invisible fishing line. Tottering around on a twelve foot step ladder on five pints of lager was living dangerously and by the time I ran off back up Brixton Hill to get my fancy dress on I'd not only done the equivalent of two days work, I was ready to claim for an industrial injury.
Making a grand entrance in my Scarlet Pimpernel jacket and periwig, I looked around at the early assembly of party people to find a fancy dress ratio of one to five – that's one crazy costume for every five jeans and t-shirt slackers. That was no bad thing because it served to make the whole night even look weirder. In no particular order the costumes that gave us more glam and glitter than all the red carpet in the Allied January sale included: Cleopatra, a regency dandy, a gorilla and accompanying zookeeper, a musketeer, one of the Cuban Brothers or was it Tommy Cannon? Barbarella, a flapper girl, Homer and Marge Simpson, two of the cast of Quadrophenia, a gang of construction workers, Catwoman, Boss Hogg, cigar chomping head honcho from the Dukes of Hazzard and lest I forget the best beehive since Mr Teezy Weezy stopped backcombing - you know who you are so thanks for making our tenth birthday a truly surreal evening.
So what about da music? Fran and Mickey stoked up the disco inferno in the sofa room serving up everything from eighties rootshouse to ragamuffin reggae, by the time the Small Time Bullies took to the stage the crowd was whiling around doing strange psy- jazz moves like they were in some kind of retro movie (check out the video on youtube-
kerfuffle is ten). After being bullied into submission we were even more receptive to the charms of the Filthy Band From Uncle. Nick (AKA. Shitty Terrapin) and Badger (AKA The Juicy Fruitella) led their big band boys through a peerless display of horn blowing I think the correct term is brass-sectioned.
But what about the boom boom room? Well, Dean Webb got the shape throwing off to a fine start taking us through an irresistible selection of house and tech, no wonder he's one of the most popular groovespinners in sarf London right now. Me and Liz followed in his footsteps with some of our real faves from the past ten years – phew what a decision that was how many hundreds of tunes have we played in all these parties and which ones were the real crowd pleasers? It took me weeks to do enough pruning. While I was playing I noticed the sound getting louder and distorting a little to some of my better-known slices. One who will remain nameless was tweaking the sound desk well into the red. Shame on you!
And then Fred Everywhere with his afro-wiggin ways and his one-man party vibe. His tunes were pretty buff too. We all partied on until the bouncer pulled the plug – quite literally. Well done Liz for braving the "one more" test in the face of such security hostility. And that was that – as the flyers fluttered to the floor my thoughts were: Another year gone by spent so many fun loving, lovely friends we must be the luckiest caners on earth – oh stop it I'm getting quite emotional.
Just a quick note to thank Clare ( AKA Barbarella) for making her gaff the site of the maddest most munted Kerfuffle afterparty ever! – we trashed it good and proper.
By Martyn Rochester
Looking back through bleary eyes - May Bank Holiday 07
Arriving early at these all day long affairs normally means playing to bar staff who are more concerned with their stock than your tunes. This time we had a couple of gurners still wild eyed from the night before. Their combined steps and thumbs up signals gave Liz and I enough incentive to leave the noodling and get on with the core business of building up some proper house grooves.
Ben obliged us with some nice warm sounds hooking more arrivers into the mayhem before Nat C strode to admiring glances. Dressed as Lara Croft, our very own Tune Raider then proceeded to work her infectious magic on an increasingly bizarrely attired crowd – Cristian's birthday explained why he looked like Captain Jack Sparrow, but with this Batwoman and Tank Girl you really are spoiling us.
Phil then started tweaking the pots jacking the assembled throng into a sea of hands. By the time Terry stepped up to the decks the room was rammed (as if bringing this man to Brixton would ever achieve anything less!) He served up so many deeply twisted sounds that his entire set was barely audible over Kaz's alarmingly vocal encouragements.
It takes a brave DJ to follow Mr. Francis, Grant did a fine job of keeping us all bouncing like a bunch of Japanese ping pong players. Then Kleo took us through a convincing lesson why so many years of late night living doesn't add up to a wasted youth. Once again I was left squeezing the life out of a giant spacehopper among a room full of exhausted, sweaty people who looked anything but deflated. Another fine mess!
By Martyn Rochester
The Easter Eggstravaganza 2007
With Easter 2006 going on record as one of our best ever, we had set ourselves a hard act to follow. Laying the egg trail before jumping on the decks meant I couldn't monitor who found what, suffice to say that they'd all been snaffled within the first hour.
After Liz had set the pace, with some real treasures from the Swag goldmine Simon Atkinson warmed our ears with a deep and dirty showcase of classic grooves.
Next up, the Technology twins Lee and Nathan gave us one of the best back-to-back double acts we've heard for years. Richie Littler was loving it so much he made it a threesome. By this time the room had filled up fully and the floor was getting stickier than Moroccan tarmac.
A rare performance from the Richard Phoneman took us back to the day when mobile phones always looked pleased to see you. After this the lush soundscapes of JJ and the hip-swaying rhythms of Jane Fitz both warmed our hearts and burned our feet.
As ever Phil Pure Science layered up such an acoustic storm with his laptop antics all that that was left for Corrie to do was to beef it up like an Argentinean Gaucho. If only he was still serving up such sounds in a shop!
Tamsin was the clear winner of the Easter Bonnet stand-off. To be honest, the only other real contender was Martin Whelan and the panel's final decision was that his florid complexion clashed with the warm pink of his jaunty Stetson.
By the end of the night I'd lost my festive Fez , my dignity and most of the contents of my pockets, but with a day like that behind us who cares?
By Martyn Rochester
New Years Day 2007
Waking up with red eyes
The addled recollections of countless long nights days gone by have long carried the title "looking back through bleary eyes". This was more a case of waking up with red eyes. I started with neurofen and large jugs of water as for once, even getting a full night and morning's kip I looked and felt considerably worse than the most wobbly of the waifs and strays that started stumbling in from Midday.
Liz soothed my fevered brow with some samba before taking the sounds on a steady climb with warm fluffy soul-tinged house. An hour later and I was enthusiastically pulling faces at some shuddering bassline as she assured me the shop had a few copies put by.
By the time she passed the Allan and Heath over to me it was way beyond a need to warm anyone up. So it was straight into the more thumping end of my box. The great thing about playing here for so many years is not worrying too much about reading the crowd. The crowd had house music tattooed
on their foreheads. - deep, wobbly, loud and proud. I was under the impression I was dishing up just that when Stryke's Perfect Love started repeating an acid groove of its own it was a few minutes before anyone noticed the needle had stuck.
Ritchie Littler gave us all a lesson in how to play gems from the vaults of Croydon's premier purveyors of fine dance music. His Swag bag was crammed with treasures he's obviously dug deep for.
Tom Baker was wide-eyed about the prospect of playing. After he'd taken us all on a journey to the promised land I could see why. Then Charlie"B" Bellingham had to go and twist it right off with some sheer bang the acid class - "deep inside my heart- I feel so much love...!"
Pure Science served us up his concentrated bad-ass live groove railroad. How come music that funkin' curvy looks like a load of straight lines on screen?
Then JB took it deeper layering up the chords to whoops an cheers all round. We'll definitely have him back with sets of this calibre.
And then there was Grant Dell - he often takes me on a detour of bebop da house with some of his production material, ( I just can't get enough of it!) But the US of A gets more than their fair share of his mixing skills this boy is a Sarf London cultural treasure!
Liz slapped a few gobsmackingly gorgeous vocal numbers on to round off a rather fine day.At a mere twelve hours, short but very sweet indeed.
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By Martyn Rochester
Easter All Dayer
Looking back through shell shocked eyes
After the previous night's Polish vodkathon the idea of an Easter bonnet parade looked like a cakewalk in the park but oh no!
Arriving with Sandra and Kathy my fluffy chick embellished fez looked as impressive as baseball cap at Ascot A floral dance meets free range hen with raffia connections - it wasn't so much a case of My Fair Lady - more Pimp my fare Ladies
Duncan took the top off our hard boiled heads with a nice steady climb up and into the groove Liz and I took a stroll around the latest techhousing development before Ritchie Littler treated us all to some proper scousehouse Ian Cruikshank kept the soft shoes shufflin' before Tom Baker tecked it up with some rumbilin' basslines and jaunty hi-hats
It was at about this time of day (a couple of hours after is was brimming over and hot enough to make hatwearing a hazard) that
I noticed just what an effort had been made by our party faithfuls cat was a proper bunny girl withmatching collar & cuffs Jayne & Sharon were sporting real flower garlands round thier rock'a'hula heads, Lana was giving it the bunny bountiful, but madhatter Maria who took the biscuit then slamdunked it with more bonnety embellishment than Thorntons - She was immediately crowned Top Egg
Back on the dancefloor, Alison Marks gave us the bubblin' under at full simmer treatment, before sound engineer turned poached gamekeeper Stuart Crossland took us back to some golden Presence and Johnny Fiasco moments Then Colin Dale gave us all a lesson in how to party all day (he was one of the first to arrive) and still show us how it's done By the time Liz wrapped it all up with some Swag treasures I was more battered than a broiler in a bargain bucket - after all I'm no spring chicken!
By Martyn Rochester
New Years Day 2006
Looking back through bleary eyes
Liz and I arrived after a night of car crashes and being punched in the mouth by Lithuanian asylum seekers. Not a great start to 2006! it could only get better. Thankfully it did. Fuelled by a half dozen white russians, we started the first two hours with a couple of stragglers but once Kat, AJ and Mickey and his cohorts had staggered in we had ourselves a proper party.
Richie and Kleo dropped the acid and skewed everyone’s consciousness to the point where we didn’t need UV lights any more. As our whole family, their in-laws and a few distant cousins once removed turned up, things started to get hot if not a little wobbly (Is there a singe review that does feature this word!) I distinctly remember looking at the clock at around 2pm and declaring “ It’s completely packed!” somehow we managed to accommodate and extra couple of hundred people from then on.
Neil Holmes and LE Bass introduced us all to an expert selection of hooks and bass lines that thundered through our solar plexuses like Concorde’s last flight.
Then Asad Rizvi gave us his definition of house. Boy can that man rock – disco diva choruses and deep moodscapes chopped up and re-assembled into applehead-pie order with no quarter given too breakdowns or even a pause for breath. By this point even my drum n’ bass head son Zach had to admit that we appeared to be onto something really special here.
By the time that Pure Science plugged in his Mac Powerbook, we couldn’t even see what was going on. The air was thick with green smoke and sweet sweat and so many people had come up to me with incoherent babblings about it being “even better than the old days”, I had to admit that I’d never known an old day like it!
In fact, the party had gained so much momentum that come twelve, not many of us knew what to do with our feet apart from some sort of incessant shuffle. We all took the day way into Jan 2nd before we ever considered the prospect of home.
And to cap it all, I got to spin a few tunes to round off what turned out to be one of the best parties we’ve ever put on – what an honour! If only Paris Red had been there to see just how much “Git with me” could tear up the floor all these years on, she’d have been just as proud as me and Liz have been ever since.
Thanks to everyone who dropped by, tuned in and dropped out that day – it very rarely ever gets better than this!
By Martyn Rochester
The first Friday in December did seem a little early to put on the red hats and reindeer horns. It certainly seemed very early for Liz Edwards who kicked off the main room to a handful of serious drinkers propping up the bar. By eleven when I came over to give her a break, the Boom Room population was probably less than rural Antarctica. Mild toe tapping continued until around twenty to twelve. I later found out the awful truth. Mickey and the backroom posse has been chaining early arrivers to the sofas with their infectious eclectica.
An then within minutes the Boom room exploded into life. Kaz started shouting and waving her arms in the air wildly and it all went off. All our Christmases had arrived at once. By the time Mark Alastair had stepped up to do his wheelie steely magic we had a proper party on our hands and he just took it upwards and onwards to new levels.
Meanwhile the sofas were still being serenaded by melifluous soundscapes and Mark Foster, Jane Turner & Kiri kept the gentle funk pressure on in a way that made the green seem grasser from the bottom of a comfy cushion.
And then Terry Francis took up the slack. He's played so many random grottos for us over the years that it was truly gratifying to see him working the growd in more suitable festive surroundings. His blend of US groove and absolute Croydon dubplates wove intricate patterns our feet were compelled to follow. By the time he played his third encore the full on festive spirit was alive and kicking.
As I let the air out of Digby, the biggest spacehopper in the world, I was feeling far from deflated. The whole crowd drifted out on a cushion of warm air and nobody felt the frost for days. God bless us one and all!
By Martyn Rochester
here it is folks hope it's not too Bulldog breed in tone!
Looking back through bleary eyes…
The match was an international friendly – Cologne versus Croydon.
I kicked off the Sofa Room with some p-funk and Studio One. The late appearance of a second CD deck skanked me an extra half hour before Mickey took command with a carefully crafted backroom set that was the aural equivalent of Nobby Styles waltzing with Carmen Miranda.
The pitch had already been raised over in the Big Boom Room – Kati, or Flyin Kat as she is known too her friends in Sharjah UAE, upped both the tempo and the temperature. Next Jaegar (Shakin Vibes Massive) took the stage show us all some cool teutonic knob twiddin’ that carried us along an Autobahn of techfunk.
Dan Berkson (Gourmet & Exun) took us though a showcase of his own releases complements by a fine array of juicy groove driven offerings before he gave it up to
the man who effortlessly took the crown for the night – Richard Grey. Our original guest saved the best till last and still managed to party on into the morning back at DunRavin Manor in Norbury. Not bad for a man who’d recently recovered from a serious car crash.
Liz wrapped up the backroom in a fluffy blanket of soul-jazz and retro with a surprise helping hand from Grant Dell. The score at full time? Well I made it four-all. Either way
ten out of ten for a cultural exchange to really write home about.
By Martyn Rochester
Kerfuffle & Peg Party
June 3rd 2005
Kerfuffle meets Peg at Jamm. It sounded more like a seventies dub clash than the meeting of shuffling feet and swivelling hips, but the combined bass booming and hi-hat tinkling would have even done King Tubby meets the Rockers uptown proud.
After putting up all the Kerfuffle drapes in the big room Jayne turned up with a streaming cold and a woodbine cough so it was back up the tottering wooden ladder to get the Peg name up loud and proud. Once my legs had stopped wobbling and I had done my turn on the door, I just had time to see Liz’s last two tunes go lift the growing crowd into a sea of nodding heads.
My first proper set on the now enhanced sound system made my selection sound more punchy and bottom end than I’d expected, but apart from dropping all my tunes across the floor and getting everything out of order it all went according to plan. When it all goes your way there’s no feeling like it - being able to drop some proper acid house in the form of Alex Smoke’s latest Soma outing to an appreciative audience was sheer heaven.
Anyway, enough about me. Danny M picked up the pace and took everyone up a few notches with a classic underground house set. His musical selection was as sharp as his barnet - minus the hair mayonnaise!
And then the techhouse twins arrived - Nathan and Nils - AKA Get Fucked stepped up to the rostrum plugged in their kit and gave us a soundscape worthy of their name. There have been so many classics produced by this duo over the past few years it was great to hear a few live and kicking.
And then Liz stepped up for the grand finale. It was great to hear her spinning a couple of real end of the night climaxers – she’s got so many gems in her bag that seldom get an airing when we’re playing together – so it was well worth the wait.
And the Peg room? Well this is a personal account and I was working so I can’t pretend to have spent enough time in there to really talk with any level of detail about all that went on with Jane, Funky Transport and Stitch. All I can say is that whenever I passed on through it was rammed and bouncing – what better way to complement one of our best nights at the Jamm so far. Now for the next dancehall clash – Kerfuffle meets Positive on August 5th – on the outernational side of dub! Don’t miss!
By Martyn Rochester
May 2nd 2005
Rochester reviews the May all-dayer
Thirsty work this party mallarky. You’ll have to forgive me if a few too many refreshments went down while basking on the sun terrace, I never missed a moment honest!.
It was May Day and the surprise guest was very definitely the sun. Summer’s at Jamm’s looking good!
So let’s try and piece it all back together somehow.
Liz and I soundchecked and limbered up for a fine and funky set from the Czech Republic’s sweetest Lillou, James Thomson’s grooved on, followed by Kiwi’s uptempo scratchathon, Darren & Spencer’s crisp and light lushness, Kleo got us jumping around before Nat C twisted us round ready for Jayne Fitz’s hip swivilin, Nathan Coles was very welcome and well-received addition to our growing roster. Then Grant Dell tweaked our buttons with more infectiousness. Asad Rizvi had even Stewart our intrepid Sound Engineer swooning before he had to rush around connecting Phil Pure Science’s powerbook so that the show could really go live. Then we all disappeared into a warm fuzzy cloud. Or at least I did, anyway.
And then Dave Mothersole. A journey through layers of elecronica dusted with Detroit techno and topped off by bit of Brian Ferry - sheer originaliteeee. Liz slapped on one last tune before the lights went back on - some 14 hours after we started. Apparently someone somewhere had a home to go to.
It took a while longer to get back to mine.
See you all in June.
By Martyn Rochester
April 1st 2005
Looking back through bleary eyes…
Arriving to find half the sound system proudly suspended from the ceiling, the biggest sub-bass I’ve ever seen and a brand new Allen & Heath mixer we knew we were in for some quality sounds whoever graced the decks.
The sofa room got off to a great start with Mickey Vespre dropping anything from rare groove to funkadelica – eclectic yet accessible, he got us on our feet and made it almost impossible to sit down. Roi took over to serve up a smorgasboard of classic disco and retro treats before Rochester explored some long-lost jazz funk and roots reggae groovers.
Back in the main room everybody more than did justice to the increased volume. Liz Edwards limbered up the system and Ariana’s deft touch got everyone’s heads nodding as she shifted effortlessly from dubby tech to twisted funk as an ideal early evening opus.
Simon Atkinson took the crowd more underground with deeper grooves and some classic four to the floor pounders. It’s a real shame that a minor flood downstairs caused the sound to cut out for a couple of minutes. He took it all in his stride like a true pro and nobody seemed phased at all.
Then Evil Eddie ripped it up with his trademark thump. The system could have been designed for him and it was great to note that even he, the most perfectionist of aural technicians, agreed that we’ve eventually found a home that’s truly worthy of his work.
So, all in all about the busiest, loudest and generally the smoothest night we’ve had here. The problem is we just can’t wait another two months for the next one. That’s why we’re doing the all-day business on May 2nd.
By Martyn Rochester
EASTERN BLOCK ROCKIN’ BEATS
Friday 4th February 2005
Looking back through bleary eyes…
KERFUFFLE goes all punky
February’s electro tech clash took us all to new highs of aural delights courtesy of The Imbeciles inimitable performance with what certainly constituted the liveliest live set we’ve ever hosted. There were ripped t-shirts and even safety pins, but a noticeable absence of stick-on mohicans.
After Edwards and Rochester had whipped the crowd into a frenzy we were all ushered into the main room to be confronted by a man with more hats than all the remaining Bee Gees, flanked by low slung guitars and a full-on drum kit. From the first note it was our sound with a new edge and we loved it. Come back again for another encore boys.
Following his own top act could have been tough work for Grant Dell, but he treated us to very smooth spin through some the highlights of a personal discography that’s proving as popular in the States as it is here in his native Sarf London.
And then there was Colin. From the Outer Limits to the main event. It’s great to have him back. Gospel tinged four-four tripping into cool teutonics then acid hooks – he ’t Colin Dale get us all into this mess in the first place?
By Martyn Rochester
Jan 1st 2005
A proper all-dayer, even by Kerfuffle standards. Thanks to the party faithful for making it such mayhem from start to finish. Driving the disorder in order of appearance:
Rochester, J-Jeff, James Thomson, LE Bass, Jade, Pure Science, Richard Grey, Ritchie Littler, JJ, Daniel Poli, Liz Edwards, Terry Francis, Paul Soul
By 11.30pm, for some strange reason, it felt like a long way past our bedtime.
By Martyn Rochester