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www.markdevlin.co.uk

www.markdevlin.co.uk

Saturday, 30 May 2009

MD'S CLUB DATES, JUNE/ JULY 2009


















Tuesday 24th June
SOUL CITY @
Simple, San Antonio, IBIZA

Thursday 25th June
THURSDAYS @
Izi, Witney
(9pm-2am)

Friday 26th June
FABULOUSO @
Mono, Belfast, NORTHERN IRELAND

Saturday 27th June
BRIDGE @
The Bridge, Oxford
(10.30pm-3am)

Saturday 4th July
SMOOVE @
Ministry Of Sound, Hurghada, EGYPT

Thursday 9th July
THURSDAYS @
Izi, Witney
(9pm-2am)

Saturday 11th July
BALLIN’ & NAUGHTY SUMMER EDITION JAM @
BBQ, Zurich, SWITZERLAND

Saturday 18th July
VIVENTE @
Que Pasa, Watford
(8pm-1am)

Thursday 23rd July
THURSDAYS @
Izi, Witney
(9pm-2am)

Saturday 25th July
BRIDGE @
The Bridge, Oxford
(10.30pm-3am)

Thursday, 28 May 2009

JUST BUGGIN. PLAYLIST & LISTEN AGAIN LINKS FOR 27/5/09














MARK DEVLIN
JUST BUGGIN’ ON OXFORD’S FM107.9 (WWW.FM1079.COM)
PLAYLIST FOR WEDNESDAY 27TH MAY 2009


To listen again (ad-free!), just click on the following Download links:

Part 1:

Part 2:



MR HUDSON FEATURING KANYE WEST: SUPERNOVA (G.O.O.D Music)

DJ JS-1 FEATURING LARGE PROFESSOR: LIKE THIS (Cold Heat

THE REGIMENT: OLD SCHOOL VIBE (Soulspazm)

STATIK SELEKTAH FEAT. STYLES P & TALIB KWELI: THE THRILL IS GONE (Show Off)

JMC FEAT. STYLES P: WHENEVER I'M HOME (Vault)

STREET BEAT OF THE WEEK:
BLAQ POET FEATURING N.O.R.E: HATE (Year Round Records)

REFLECTION ETERNAL: BACK AGAIN (Blacksmith)

SHAWN PEN: RESPECT ME (White)

SCRATCH Featuring MUSIQ SOULCHILD: TONITE (Gold Dust)

LINGUA FRANCA: MONEY (Breakin Bread)

OLD TO THE NEW:
DE LA SOUL: BUDDY (Tommy Boy)

DE LA SOUL: FOREVER (AOI Records)

BUSTA RHYMES FEAT. MARY J BLIGE, JOHN LEGEND & COMMON: DECISION (Universal/ Motown)

TAHMAC: GIVE BACK (Tahmac Ent)

CHUBB ROCK & WORDSMITH: OLD 2 THE NEW (Pickwick Records)

GUEST DJ MIX: THE UNTOUCHABLE DJ DRASTIC (NYC) MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND MIX

SHAUN BOOTHE: THE UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY OF JIMI HENDRIX (White)

TRIGGADON: GHETTO BOY (White)

B.A.M Featuring KEITH MURRAY: GO HARDER (War Machine Inc)

KRS ONE & BUCKSHOT: ROBOT (C) (Duck Down Records)

CHARMS (STREET POLITIKS): I AM HIP HOP (White)

D-BLOCK: GET THAT PAPER (D Block)

BLOODSPORT: LAST GOODBYE (White)

TRIGGADON: THAT TIME HAS COME (White)

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

'BUT ANYWAY.' DOWNLOAD THE MD MIXTAPE SERIES, VOLUME 5














‘But Anyway’ was the last of the cassettes before the series moved on to CD.

This one appeared in May 2000, and featured the usual host of tunes current to the time, a couple of hot ragga riddims, and some dig-deep revivals from the likes of Guy, Christopher Williams, (Kareem in ‘New Jack City’,) TLC and SWV. But the real highlight was the freestyle sequence recorded at an incredible session of Rubber Soul in Cambridge, when Kid Fury, Lethal and Master G completely smashed it on the mics while Stretch Taylor and myself juggled beats. Priceless.

Side 1:


Side 2:

MD'S TOUR DIARY. JUMEIRAH BEACH HOTEL, DUBAI, UAE. MAY '09














Whatever the music, Dubai's a major nightlife destination by anyone's standards. It's also a fascinating place, more like a state than a city, and full of cultural contrasts and contradictions. I last played there in early 2005, so was well chuffed at the chance to go out again this month to spin at Smooth Grooves at The Apartment.

I set off only 48 hours after getting back from Macedonia, with my flight only being booked the day before. Incredibly, we managed to get a rate of £247 return with Gulf Air, travelling out and back via Bahrain. A real bargain in these costly times.

I got into Dubai at 9.30 on the morning of Thursday 15th, and got taken to the mindblowing Jumeirah Beach Hotel, which was to be my home for the next couple of days. On the way my driver pointed out the large amount of construction works left half-finished after their commissioners ran out of money. Following years of monumental economic growth, the recession has hit hard in Dubai.

The JBH is part of the same complex as the iconic Burj-Al-Arab, famous for being the world's only seven-star hotel. While I've lodged in no end of crusty dives, I've also been fortunate enough to stay in some amazingly swanky hotels, but there's little to compare with the impeccable service levels and plush grandeur of the Jumeirah Beach. With 22 restaurants, a water theme park, private beach, marina and three pools it's not hard to understand why it's such a big hit with families. But with rooms starting at 4,000 dirhams a night (about £700,) it'd be a once in a lifetime experience for many.

Spinning in The Apartment that night was British DJ Simon 'Schoolboy' Phillips, who moved to Dubai a couple of years ago and hosts a show on the city's Radio 1. Schooly was having Serato headaches, with every other track stopping mid-flow, every DJ's nightmare. Scottish jock David Craig and his singer/ model wife Clarita also moved to Dubai last year, so it was only right we took the opportunity to hook up. Dave dodged the appalling drivers to give me a whistle-stop tour of his new home, including the Burj Dubai tower, the tallest building in the world, looking like a giant syringe on the skyline.

The JBH is the sort of place where you could quite happily stay in the air-conditioned luxury all day. But there was no way I could pass up the chance of a swim in the Arabian sea and pool on Friday. After meeting promoter Avtar for a drink in the circular 360 club/ bar venue, and sampling colossal amounts of the hotel's food, Friday night's gig rolled around. I did my best to smash it, and the night was hugely enjoyable on all levels.

With my airport pick-up due at 5.30am, there seemed little point in going to bed, so I ordered a room service breakfast for 4.30, (£25!) and reluctantly headed back to the airport.

Touchdown at Heathrow was around 3.30pm. With that night's gig in nearby Watford starting at 8, there wasn't sufficient time to justify heading home, so a desperately-needed 90-minute nap at the mother-in-law's it had to be. Back down to earth with a bang.

Getting back to Parveen and Zaina just after 2am I had the rest of the Bank Holiday weekend off, apart from presenting another instalment of my Urban Anthems show live on FM107.9 on Monday night. Another hugely rewarding opportunity to rinse out some feel-good classics that you rarely hear out any more. The show's available to download and listen back to using the following links:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

URBAN ANTHEMS. PLAYLIST & LISTEN AGAIN LINKS FOR 25/5/09














MARK DEVLIN’S URBAN ANTHEMS, FM107.9, OXFORD (WWW.FM1079.COM)
MONDAY 25TH MAY 2009, 7-10PM

To listen again (ad-free!), just click on the following Download links:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:


AALIYAH: BACK & FORTH

112 Featuring NOTORIOUS BIG: ONLY YOU (BAD BOY REMIX)

DRU HILL: IN MY BED (SO SO DEF REMIX)

BIG PUN: STILL NOT A PLAYER

TRUCE: TREAT U RIGHT

ZHANE: REQUEST LINE

DOUG E FRESH: THE SHOW

WHISTLE: (NOTHING SERIOUS) JUST BUGGIN’

CUTTY RANKS: WHO SAY ME DUN

SINGING SWEET: WHEN I SEE YOU SMILE

TANYA STEPHENS: GOGGLE

RAYVON: BIG UP

TENOR FLY/ NADINE SUTHERLAND: ACTION

PATRA Featuring YO YO: ROMANTIC CALL

DE LA SOUL: A ROLLERSKATING JAM NAMED SATURDAYS

BIG DADDY KANE: WARM IT UP KANE

CHUBB ROCK: TREAT EM RIGHT

SUGAR BEAR: DON”T SCANDALIZE MINE

ROB BASE & DJ EZ ROCK: IT TAKES TWO

DJ MIX 1: FATMAN SCOOP PARTY BREAKS MIX

JENNA G: IN LOVE

LETHAL BIZZLE: POW (FORWARD RIDDIM)

SLK: HYPE! HYPE!

SO SOLID CREW: 21 SECONDS

SL2: ON A RAGGA TIP

DJ MIX 2: DJ MASEO (DE LA SOUL) MP3 CLASSICS MIX

DJ MIX 3: MARK DEVLIN LIVE AT URBAN, BERLIN, EDINBURGH

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

MD'S TOUR DIARY, MACEDONIA/ BULGARIA. MAY '09














Like many of the other Balkan states, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, (to give its full and officious title,) has yet to adapt itself to the tourism market. Following the closure of the one at Ohrid, the country has only one airport, all flights there are unfeasibly expensive, and there are no direct routes there from anywhere in the UK. It's a shame, as it's a stunningly beautiful country, and the people are the friendliest you could hope to meet.

My second visit started on Saturday 16th, and, as with the previous occasion, involved flying to Sofia in neighbouring Bulgaria, then being driven over the border as the only way of keeping costs at a vaguely sensible level. Unfortunately, British Airways only operates one flight a day from Heathrow, and it's at the ungodly hour (if you're a DJ) of 8.30am. As I'd worked on Friday night in Watford, there was barely time for a snatched three hours of sleep before heading off to the airport. On the flight, I heard the two guys sat behind me exchanging music talk. They turned out to be the electronic music duo Spooky, headed to a gig in Sofia that night alongside Sasha, (who used to be famous for failing to show up for bookings, but has apparently cleaned up his act in recent years.) Naturally I attempted to flog them both a copy of 'Tales From The Flipside.'

The day was to become possibly the longest period of unbroken travel I've experienced yet. At Sofia, I was picked up by Radina and Shosho to begin the long road trip. The guards at the border were clearly more interested in eating doughnuts, scratching their arses and lazily swatting at flies than checking passports. In the end it took five hours to get to the Macedonian capital of Skopje where we picked up the country's key player, DJ Boogieman and his manager Danny Boy. It's a wonder Shosho's spine wasn't permanently bent at 90 degrees following another three hours at the wheel to the South-Western city of Bitola.

There was ample time to get the usual history and statistics en route; Macedonia's entire population is only two million, a quarter that of Greater London. A large portion is made up of ethnic Albanians, and the country shares its language and cyrillic alphabet with Bulgaria, with which it used to be joined in the decades before Europe's borders were re-carved. Right, lecture over. And there's no love lost between Macedonians and Greeks, following centuries of territorial disputes.

By the time we eventually rolled into Bitola I was delirious from lack of sleep, and staggered, red-eyed, to Rascekor nightclub with the others. I span alongside Boogieman, as the familiar DJing adrenalin (and Red Bull) kicked in. We span from a highly dangerous DJ crow's nest accessible only by fire ladder, from where we had an excellent view of the VIP balcony, where the party was definitely going on. A great night, and worth the road miles - just.

Somehow we all managed to make our hotel breakfast before cramming in the motor headed back to Skopje. The mountainous scenery was truly mindblowing and reminiscent of Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands. Danny's day job is as a chef in an Italian restaurant, and he cooked us all a spectacular meal that was enough to get even a non-foodie like me excited.

A blessed hotel disco nap followed with the AC on full blast, before Sunday night's gig instalment at Hard Rock Club, one of Skopje's best-known venues. My set was hugely enjoyable, the crowd responding nicely to the hip hop selection, without much need to go down the poppy commercial route. My two hours zipped by in a flash.
Sadly, so did the two hours of sleep before the rudely early pick-up and plod back to Sofia, and then on to Heathrow, (mother-in-law's statutory Duty Free fag order in hand, of course). I always appreciate the opportunity to visit places that are off the usual DJ gig trail, and the parties generally turn out to be hugely satisfying as a result. Hopefully this won't be my last visit to this particular location this year.

Friday, 15 May 2009

BLACK SHEEP MAGAZINE - IT'S COMING!






Black Sheep Magazine is imminent. www.blacksheepmag.com

Check the story from the current Music Week for the full lowdown:

ANGELS & DEMONS MOVIE REVIEW












ANGELS & DEMONS (12a)

Dan Brown’s ‘Angels & Demons’ was always a far more cinematic novel than its contemplative follow-up ‘The Da Vinci Code’, so a straight transfer to film was always going to be a winner. Director Ron Howard doesn’t disappoint, keeping up the pace as the high-octane action blends with deep, but manageable dialogue. With kidnap, ingenious murder, riddles, old-fashioned detective work, and an underlying plot pitching religion against science, the story has enough elements to appeal to all but the most selective of movie-goers.

Tom Hanks reprises his role as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon – a kind of latter-day Indiana Jones with a blazer instead of a whip. He’s called on when a device containing deadly anti-matter is stolen from a research institute, at the same time as four cardinals are kidnapped from The Vatican. The crimes are attributed to The Illuminati, a seemingly resurrected version of an old enemy of the Catholic Church.

What follows is a good old-fashioned race against the clock before the anti-matter explodes, and the cardinals are picked off in ever more gruesome ritualitic ways. Arguably, the film belongs to Ewan McGregor, who shines as an ambitious young Catholic priest, while Ayelet Zurer makes a curiously glamourless leading lady. Naturally, all is not as it seems, with a couple of crucial plot twists, and a few subtle deviations from Brown’s novel to keep even its readers on their toes.

JUST BUGGIN. PLAYLIST & LISTEN AGAIN LINKS FOR 13/5/09














MARK DEVLIN
JUST BUGGIN’ ON OXFORD’S FM107.9 (WWW.FM1079.COM)
PLAYLIST FOR WEDNESDAY 13TH MAY 2009


To listen again (ad-free!), just click on the following Download links:

Part 1:


Part 2:



KERI HILSON Featuring KEYSHIA COLE & TRINA: GET YOUR MONEY UP (Mosley Music Group/ Interscope)

B.A.M Featuring KEITH MURRAY: GO HARDER (War Machine Inc)

KRS ONE & BUCKSHOT: ROBOT (C) (Duck Down Records)

JMC FEAT. STYLES P: WHENEVER I'M HOME (Vault)

FUNKY DL: SO SEXY (BBE)

SHAWN PEN: RESPECT ME (White)

STREET BEAT OF THE WEEK:
THE REGIMENT: OLD SCHOOL VIBE (Soulspazm)

STATIK SELEKTAH FEAT. STYLES P & TALIB KWELI: THE THRILL IS GONE (C) (Show Off)

MELANIE FIONA: ISLAND BOY (Island)

SERANI: NO GAMES (Universal Republic)

OLD TO THE NEW:
BUSTA RHYMES Featuring ERYKAH BADU: ONE (Elektra)

BUSTA RHYMES FEAT. MARY J BLIGE, JOHN LEGEND & COMMON: DECISION (Universal/ Motown)

SHAUN BOOTHE: THE UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY OF JIMI HENDRIX (White)

TRIGGADON: GHETTO BOY (White)

CHARMS (STREET POLITIKS): I AM HIP HOP (White)

REFLECTION ETERNAL: BACK AGAIN (Blacksmith)

BLOODSPORT: LAST GOODBYE (White)

TRIGGADON: THAT TIME HAS COME (White)

D-BLOCK: GET THAT PAPER (D Block)

NEMESIS & ARROGANCE Featuring MR. TI2BS: LISTEN TO YOUR HEART (Real Records)

THE JACKA: GLAMOROUS LIFESTYLE (Jacka)

Thursday, 14 May 2009

URBAN ANTHEMS WITH MARK DEVLIN, BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY ON FM107.9






On Bank Holiday Monday, 25th May, Mark Devlin returns with another instalment of Urban Anthems on FM107.9. It's three hours of classic old-school throwbacks, spanning hip hop, R&B, new jack swing, hip hop soul and garage.

On this occasion, watch out for De La Soul’s DJ Maseo in the mix, plus a classic hip-hop party breaks sequence from the mighty Fatman Scoop. Listen from anywhere, 7-10pm GMT, (8-11pm CET/ 2-5pm EST/ 11am-2pm PST) on www.fm1079.com

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

MD'S TOUR DIARY, CROATIA. MAY '09














Zagreb has yet to become a destination for dirt-cheap airlines like Ryanair. It’s served by Wizzair, who are certainly cheap enough if you book well in advance. The problem is that they don’t operate the route every day of the week, making quick overnight hops impossible. Old-fashioned flag carrier Croatia Airlines are still criminally expensive – often as much as £300 return. Fortunately I was travelling out on Friday and back on Sunday, two of the days that Wizzair flies.

I used to rate Luton Airport, but it’s now become incredibly anal in its petty regulations, and militant in how it carries them out. Bad enough that they charge passengers £1 for a small transparent bag to place their hand baggage toiletries in. I was dumbfounded to find they now charge passengers a £3 ‘Quick Access’ charge to use the escalator up to the security check. Incredible!

Zagreb was considerably hotter than the UK, sweltering in near-80-degree sunshine. Friday night’s outing promised to be a proper hip-hop treat. Phat Phillie’s Blackout crew, who’ve hosted Croatia’s leading hip-hop radio show for 16 years, were staging the latest of their regular live shows at Club Aquarius, featuring 90s pioneers Sadat X (of Brand Nubian) and Diamond D (of D.I.T.C) in performance. They didn’t disappoint, tearing through snippets of classics like ‘Punks Jump Up’, ‘Check 1 2,’ ‘Day One’ and ‘All For One’. I got to meet the dudes briefly backstage, before the blunts and liquor appeared in the inevitable post-show shenanigans. It was also good to catch up with old Croatian associates Bronson, Bizzo Bodego, DJ Independent and Phillie. Check out my Youtube page for a couple of bits of footage from a cracking show.

The weekend was not without its flaws, and the first occurred as I left Aquarius. The club is situated out of town on Lake Jarun, and my intention was to walk back to the main road and get a tram. Unfortunately I started walking around the lake the wrong way. By the time I realised my mistake I was deep in wilderness surrounded by chirping crickets and miles from civilisation. By the time I’d eventually made it back to my hotel it was way past 7am. Not part of the plan.

On Saturday night I returned to play at the lively party spot Maraschino Bar in the centre of town. Sadly, more patience-testing was to come. Three times during my set the venue was plunged into darkness from a power cut. Eventually, management decided to move me to an upper level, powered by a different source, but which involved me DJing off a rickety beer table facing a wall, unable to hear a monitor or to see the crowd downstairs. Finally, I was moved back downstairs … where another power cut occurred.

After finishing at 4am, I waited for a tram back to my hotel. And waited … and waited. At least three of every other numbered tram passed before the one I wanted, and I finally arrived back at close to 8am. The only good thing was that I was able to go straight to breakfast before passing out in my room. All in all, the weekend was one which would belong firmly in a volume 2 of ‘Tales From The Flipside’ should I ever get round to writing one!

Monday, 11 May 2009

SADAT X & DIAMOND D LIVE ON STAGE IN ZAGREB, CROATIA

Blackout presents another classic hip hop show for the Croatia massive. 90s legends Sadat X (Brand Nubian) and Diamond D (D.I.T.C) tear it up on stage for the hardcore faithful. Proof that real hip hop IS still alive and well - you just gotta know where to find it!

SADAT X & DIAMOND D PERFORM 'PUNKS JUMP UP TO GET BEAT DOWN' IN ZAGREB, CROATIA

90s hip hop legends Sadat X and Diamond D perform Brand Nubian's timeless party joint 'Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down', live on stage at Aquarius, Zagreb, Croatia. (Sorry about the sound - recorded right next to a screaming monitor!)

Thursday, 7 May 2009

JUST BUGGIN. PLAYLIST & LISTEN AGAIN LINKS FOR 6/5/09















MARK DEVLIN
JUST BUGGIN’ ON OXFORD’S FM107.9 (WWW.FM1079.COM)
PLAYLIST FOR WEDNESDAY 6TH MAY 2009


To listen again (ad-free!), just click on the following Download links:

Part 1:


Part 2:



KERI HILSON Featuring KANYE WEST & NE-YO: KNOCK YOU DOWN (Mosley Music Group/ Interscope)

MELANIE FIONA: SAD SONGS (Island)

SERANI: NO GAMES (Universal Republic)

FUNKY DL: SO SEXY (Washington Classics)

JMC FEAT. STYLES P: WHENEVER I'M HOME (Vault)

PHIL THE AGONY Featuring TALIB KWELI & SAS: HUNTERS (Blacksmith)

SHAUN BOOTHE: THE UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY OF JIMI HENDRIX (White)

STREET BEAT OF THE WEEK:
REFLECTION ETERNAL: BACK AGAIN (Blacksmith)

MARCO POLO & TORAE: PARTY CRASHERS (Duck Down Records)

OLD TO THE NEW:
KRS ONE: SOUND OF DA POLICE (Jive)

KRS ONE & BUCKSHOT: ROBOT (C) (Duck Down Records)

BARON VON ALIAS Featuring GUILTY SIMPSON: HERE & NOW (White)

TRIGGADON: THAT TIME HAS COME (White)

D-BLOCK: GET THAT PAPER (D Block)

THE JACKA: GLAMOROUS LIFESTYLE (Jacka)

DJ MIX: DJ P45 REVIVAL MIX, LIVE AT URBAN, BERLIN, EDINBURGH

NEMESIS & ARROGANCE Featuring MR. TI2BS: LISTEN TO YOUR HEART (Real Records)

CHARMS (STREET POLITIKS): I AM HIP HOP (White)

B.A.M Featuring KEITH MURRAY: GO HARDER (War Machine Inc)

SKYZOO: APPRECIATION (Soulspazm)

TRIGGADON: GHETTO BOY (White)

BLAQ POET: AIN’T NUTHIN’ CHANGED (White)

DIAMOND DISTRICT: I MEAN BUSINESS (White)

MELANIE FIONA: ISLAND BOY (Island)

Friday, 1 May 2009

MD'S TOUR DIARY, SINGAPORE/ AUSTRALIA/ HONG KONG














Flying home far too early from Scotland on Sunday 19th April, I had just one night at home with Parveen and Zaina before setting off on my marathon trip, so we made the most of it by heading out for an Indian meal. I took every opportunity to fuss over Z in between a packing session that called for military precision in making sure I had all my key items packed - everything from assorted leads and cables to earplugs and aspirins.

I was more than surprised to get an upgrade on the BA/ Qantas codeshare to Singapore. Nothing to get too excited about - it was only Economy Plus. But the extra legroom made for a slightly more comfortable 13 hours. After hotel check-in I headed into the sticky and humid Singapore night, first of all to the cool and upmarket Supperclub. The Belvedere IX vodka brand were hosting a private party there, in league with local promoter John Bosco Lopez. Vodka is my regular tipple, but this stuff, at near 50 per cent proof, is far too lethal for me. Spinning as I arrived was DJ Ko Flow, the region's most prominent hip hop turntablist, and for good reason. His skills are tight.

From there, it was on to Le Noir, an open-air bar spot on bustling Clarke Quay, for a reunion with DJ Titus, who I span with at Attica on my last visit in '07. Back at the hotel, I was bemused to find my legs hanging a clear six inches off the end of the bed. At 5'10” I'm far from a giant, but found myself towering over most Singaporians, who the bed was clearly made for.

No upgrade on the Singapore to Sydney leg, sadly, but the seven hours zipped by after the previous day’s slog. Having a body clock that was shot to pieces years ago and grabbing pockets of sleep at all times of the day has one clear advantage; jet-lag rarely affects me. This set me up well for Thursday, and a social link with my good buddy DJ D. It was gloriously sunny as we headed to a tea and cake shop on Bondi Beach. While chatting, our conversation was overheard by one of the waiters, who revealed himself to be a turntablist going by the straightforward name of Mr. DJ. It seems our breed are lurking everywhere. Later that day I set off on my first domestic flight, to Hobart, Tasmania, the furthest point South I’ve ever been, (and unless I ever go to the Falklands or New Zealand’s South island, it’s likely to stay that way.)

Hobart put me in mind of Wellington, New Zealand. In short, it felt remote and quiet with not much to do. The rest of Tasmania is reportedly very beautiful, but I had a mere 24 hours in the capital. Whatever drama was lacking on Thursday night was made up for the following morning when the fire alarm in our hotel went off at 7am, and all guests were briskly evacuated into the cold, many looking bewildered in their dressing gowns. It turned out to be a false alarm but I could have done without the rude awakening. Friday’s flight was the hour’s crossing to Melbourne, busy and bustling as I arrived into the city, in massive contrast to Hobart’s genteelness. Shortly after midnight it was time to head down to Syn Bar, one of the Friday night hotspots for party-style hip hop and R&B. Although not rammed, the place was still bumping nicely with a happy, mixed crowd. Promoter Chris had me down a couple of shots of Wet Pussy – vodka, schnaps and peach juice. Not bad as it goes.

Each day at a different airport involved the same ritual – a search for a seat near to a power point, in order to keep the laptop battery and phone fully charged up. I sampled all three of Australia’s budget airlines; Tiger Airways from Hobart had been the closest to the Ryanair experience. Virginblue back to Sydney was more enjoyable. My Saturday night gig was at The Pumphouse, which helpfully formed part of the Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour, the best of the various hotels on my trip. The Pumphouse’s upper level houses the DJ booth, from which you look down on the assembled throng below. Aussie clubs tend to feature several DJs on the bill, with the result that each only gets to play an hour. It’s a good strategy in that each jock piles all their best tricks into their short playing time, resulting in consistent excitement for the clubbers, but I play so many all-night sets that my 1-2am slot was a real shock to the system. Great fun, and over all too quick.

Gigs done, on Sunday, I embarked on my eighth flight in nine days, this one to Brisbane, from where I was picked up for the drive to Nerang, Queensland, to stay with some family friends who’d emigrated to Aus from England in the 1970s and never looked back. Barry built the house they now live in himself, and his back garden puts ours to shame. It’s proper ‘I’m A Celebrity’ country, teeming with birds and insects that chirped through the night outside my window. Nice to get a couple of days to chill.

The last leg of the trip involved a 24-hour stopover in Hong Kong, somewhere I’d never visited before. I flew from Brisbane with Qantas on Tuesday 28th, on a nine-hour slog. On arrival at HK’s vast international airport, I noticed virtually all the staff and quite a few passengers wearing medical-style face masks. It seems a certain paranoia had set in following the worrying announcement of the swine flu epidemic in the news that week.

I was very impressed with Hong Kong. I found it to be clean, buzzing, friendly, well-signed, and a pleasant temperature at around 26 degrees with a good breeze. What surprised me was the locals’ tendency to dawdle along at a snail’s pace, not what I expected from such a crowded metropolis. HK’s mainland neighbour Kowloon, where I was staying, was slightly more hectic, but full of great atmosphere. After freshening up at my hotel, I took the MRT train across the harbour to Hong Kong Central, and the plush niterie Dragon-I, all low-level ambient lighting and ornamental chandeliers. It wasn’t rammed, but then Tuesday’s never the most banging night of the week in any city. Like Dragon, virtually every bar in thriving Wyndham Street was equipped with a DJ booth containing a pair of Pioneer CDJ1000s.

After a long day of sightseeing, at 11pm on Wednesday I took my final flight, the cruel 13-hour BA drudge back to Heathrow. By this point I was missing my girls like crazy, and it was great to have Parveen and Zaina meet me off the coach from Heathrow ready to take me home. It was even better to have a cup of tea, a bowl of cereal, and finally sink into bed for a slumber. There was no opportunity to get too comfortable though; it was straight back on the DJ grind later that night at Izi in Witney for the start of the Bank Holiday weekend.