Start of February blog – How boring is that for a title?

Audio

Hi All.

Well here we go. 2013 is well and truly under way. The diary is starting to fill up steadily now that folks have gotten over Christmas so the paperwork is moving again. Ive been updating my listings so it should be even easier to find me now.

I’m living right in the middle of Littlehampton so it feels like I’m really working away alongside every other business in town. A strange sense of camaraderie with poeple I don’t really know.. A bit different to sitting at the desk in a flat in a residential street somewhere. Seems like I’ve got the best of both worlds now. It’s a long time since I’ve been able to pop outside the front door and be right in the town centre. Run out of staples? No problem. Need a pasty?/toilet cleaner? (those two aren’t connected)

Don’t even need to turn off the TV. Ive got Sainsburies and Waitrose within 100 yards! I’m starting to go all cosmopolitan, buying only what I need to eat for a day or two. Safe in the knowledge that I’ll just miss supermarket closing time by one last minute for that all important dinner food purchase. Oh well never mind. there’s still the fish and chip shop 50 yards away for dire emergencies..

The only trouble with this time of year is it’s so quiet. I can’t wait to get down and dirty on the decks and get those bodies shaking again! Worse than usual since I took my “sabatical” last year. I should have more going on now in your usual year. Aaah well. that’s what you get for helping others for four months. Can’t say I regret that part. But I’m back for good as Gary Barlow would say.

Here’s an interesting and quick observation as I sit here at my keyboard:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23p-_BfzPLI

And here’s some traditional comedy as is the tradition here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/OptimumReleasing?v=vuggaNcccvI

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Back for good. And loving it!

Audio

Hi all. Haven’t done a blog for a long time now. I’ve been away doing voluntary work. Alas, i missed my life as a DJ and I had to come back. So I’m well and truly back in business. Good news is, my diary is wide open so if you have any doubts about availability I shouldn’t worry.  Already done a couple of gigs and it feels mighty good I can tell you. Just sorting out a place to live right now and it can’t come soon enough. I don’t mind living in a B&B but it get’s a bit costly after a while.

Where I was working I was doing close to 100 hours per week. That sounds like a lot, but it’s actually quite do-able. Only trouble is, you don’t really have a life outside of it and it was that plus deejaying that I missed.

Being back in what we would all call ordinary life is so much more appreciated now I can tell you..

On the upside, I lost over a stone in weight and though I didn’t really consider myself a fatty, for the first time in my life, my stomach is flat! All i have to do is get into my new place and give up eating bread. Kind of difficult to do when you’re living on full english and then whatever you can buy at the garage for the rest of the day…. Last week I played at a hotel as I am tonight and I must have looked weird as i was wearing my old smart clothes which were roughly two sizes too big. Doesn’t inspire great confidence in one’s self looking like a tortoise peering out of it’s shell! Never mind, have smaller trousers now so the “pair of flour sacks/refugee” look has gone.

I’ve noticed that most TV is appauling. Did i mention I haven’t seen any for around 4 months? Some great documentaries of course as always, but reality TV still has all the appeal of a cheese greater on one’s privates. No change there then.

I Was Sleeping in a dormatory for all that time, so it’s great to have a bedroom again. You get used to other peoples snoring (and farting) but never the less it’s good to be able to spread out a bit and breath cleaner air.

Aah well, shoes to polish, food to eat so better get on.

Back soon and have a great Christmas and new year!

Regards,

Mike

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My recent post on “How to be a DJ”

Audio, Uncategorized

Warning: This blog is more directed at deejays. It was something I posted today on a DJ Site for learners. If it’s your cup of tea then fine. I’m just saying!

I burned a CD for a customer last night for their wedding ceromony. It was the first CD I’ve burned in 5 years and without anything but Windows media player it was a severe pain in the arse! I thought Itunes was un-user friendly, but that took the cake..

I have been using a Numark D2 and a laptop with OTS AV (super lightweight ultra reliable DJ Software) now for around the last 5 years. It all started when I was looking for one song and it took me the entire length of the gig to find it on the back of another consolidated CDR. That’s what we used to do. When you had too many CD singles to fit into your boxes, you had to get a twin cd player and consolidate them down to one or two CDR’s. Eventually I had too many CDR albums and that plus the former problem drove me to it! I think that being a mobile DJ and not a club DJ makes us more cutting edge in technology terms, for the simple reason that we have to hang on to all our songs and not just have a little box or these days, cd bag of the current stuff.

I decided to bite the bullet one January when work was thinnest on the ground. I had the help part time of my friend Melenie who was a trained typist and just happened to love my PC keyboard at the time. She enjoyed it and when she couldn’t be there I soldiered on through it. I ripped all my CD songs (about 10,000 at the time) using yes..good old windows media player. I have to say it’s a lot easier to rip than create some stupid bloody play list to burn etc. It took us around 5 weeks of all day and night ripping and typing! But boy, was it worth it. Now I don’t have to carry loads of CD’s around and it can all be found in seconds, which is great at a gig. Of course you lose the inspiration of looking through the physical media, but as Pete Tong says, your deejaying always goes down a bit when you change technology. Don’t worry though, It comes back pretty soon in the heat of the night when you have to have that one great track!

I am one of those rare creatures who has to have two seperate systems in case one goes down. It’s more to carry around but it’s saved my arse on a couple of occasions and actually lends itself really well to the nightly environment. When things are not kicking off yet or I want to have a leak or a cigarette, I leave the Ots AV running and mixing by itself on the laptop. When the floor starts to fill, I switch over to the D2 and manually “mix up a storm” as they say.

My advice is, go for it. If you are a club DJ and you have limited space, Go for an apple with Traktor (industry standard) software. If you are a mobile like me, then I can honestly say that I haven’t wanted to change what I have in 5 years. You can’t get the D2 any more, but the mix track pro should be ok. You just may have to commission a larger console as I have, if you want it wired in and ready.

All the best,

Mike

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Let’s end that long song list forever!

Audio, Lifestyle

Hi. Just  a quicky this week as I’m off to another gig this Sunday afternoon. Just want to say thanks to James and Donna for looking after me last night. Great gig. They set the room up like a night club and I used the uplighters around the room to enhance the pink theme.

I started out by smacking my head on the door frame as I manhandled a bass bin in. I only realised I was bleeding after I went to wipe the sweat from my head. “Things can only get better” I thought. Which was one of Donna’s song choices and went down a storm. (sorry, tedious links are for Dave only) The great thing about the night though is that there was no song list. Only three songs were asked for and one of them got canned due to a change of direction at the request of the host. All that was asked for were certain musical directions at various points in the night ie: start out with swing/big band/rat pack, after the singer guitarist had done his hour go into a motown/soul set, then disco 80’s, then 90’s piano house etc moving up to modern Mr. Saxo beat type funky house and finally some trance/house right at the end (one of which was a special remix by yours truly for Donna). This is so much better than a mile long song list, as you get to choose the classic tracks that sound great and work well on the floor. Any requests on the night just get fitted in with the plan and the BPM so no gaping holes in the dance floor. As I’ve said before. I will do a song list if you want, but having a long list is like having sex with your self. It may be reliable in your eyes, but it’s never as good and there are rarely any nice surprises.

Anyway, Donna and James were over the moon at my set and told me so several times (Donna had to come up and kiss me to say how “amazing” I was – read latest feedback here) and this is the point! Request a few in advance of course if you like, but you’re shooting yourself in the foot (and “locking me in a cage of no creativity”) with a long song list!

Take care, have a great week and feel free to re-post this blog if you’re another DJ or have some related site. (please credit me Mike Stryk: cloudandsun.com) Let’s put that monster (song list) back in it’s cage and go back to the days of real fun on the floor!!!

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Screeching, smoke and exhausted.

Audio, Lifestyle

Children’s parties.

Hi all. Dj’d for a children’s party this week. I like children’s parties. It’s definitely not about the money! Is it ever about the money? Well we all have to pay the rent, but lately I have looked into the world of online business (no, I’m not giving this job up) and my idea that if you’re not passionate about it, it will be hard to do indeed, seems to be prevalent there for sure. Anyway, children make great punters. They don’t have to have a drink before they summon up the courage to get on the floor. They just go for it from the start with their wonderful shrill voices and the parents looking slightly stressed. I’m glad we didn’t have any smoke detectors in the venue, as they were asking me about once every two minutes for more smoke! I was happy to oblige of course, but I have to say that before long, I couldn’t really see anyone from about 1 foot past the front of the console. Hello to Josh, Faye and possy if you’re reading this. And thank you to the church hall/coffee morning lady who offered me a bacon sandwich out of the blue (Very nice it was too I should say. Havent had bread like that since I lived near an ASDA!)

Sod’s law

Why does stuff always go wrong with your mobile disco van just before the weekend? My vans are well looked after and maintained but in this business not many (actually nobody I’ve ever met except someone who came into an inheritance) can afford to buy a brand new one, so you’re always going to be catching up with the result of the previous owners thrashing of their company vehicle. I was no exception on Friday evening. On the way home that night, I got within a mile of home and guess what? I heard this clanking noise on coming from underneath and assumed that the spare wheel frame had dropped. That reminds me, what happened to my spare wheel? I’m sure I had it when I bought this van! I must get another one. Do they sell them at scrap yards? Anyway, no it wasn’t the now empty spare wheel frame dropping through lack of content. No of course it was the exhaust pipe falling in half some 2 weeks after passing its MOT….?? I had nowhere to pull over far enough to do anything, so I continued home with the hazards on and the pipe clanking along the road.

As I pulled into home, a friendly faced neighbour looked sympathetically at me jangling and clanking up to the garage. It was then I recalled that I’d left my tools in the car, but as it happens, all I needed was a jack and something to tie the loose pipe up to the chassis.

Of course I am covered for breakdowns, but I seem to have this fierce independent streak that a lot of us men have, that only if the van is broken in two halves would I sit and wait for an hour whilst the rescue service locate and attend. So I got to the children’s party next day with my exhaust tied up like an amateur bondage victim having taken it to the tyre and exhaust place for them to ascertain which bits they needed to order that morning. After the lunch time party I sweated as I loaded the van up to make it in time for the actual fitting in Littlehampton before they closed.

I have to tell you it was an experience driving there for the second time that day. As I headed down the A”%( or A259 if you remember to take your left finger off the shift button, the engine gradually got louder and louder and louder and louder thus precipitating the fear that I wouldn’t actually make it there before the whole thing fell off at the manifold/engine/other end. I was about 1/4 of a mile away when I hit the wonderful Littlehampton police station gas pipe replacement  project with it’s unbfeasibly long traffic light delay, but I was prepared for this so I simply switched off the engine for the five and a half long minutes before the green light came back on.

Arrival

Finally pulling into the exhaustmiester’s yard, the sense of relief was that of someone being pushed along a hospital corridor on a stretcher into the operating theatre thinking: “I’ve done all I can for myself to get here. Now I’m leaving it in your capable hands.” Excuse me whilst I retire to the waiting room to enjoy my sense of relief with a cup of that tea from the vending machine and an obscure magazine about classic cars that will no doubt be waiting for me on the table in the middle of all garage waiting rooms, whilst trying not to get too interested in the diagrams of exhausts and tyre types on the wall.

So anyway the upshot is that a few minutes into the repair, the bloke came into the waiting room and apologised but the suppliers had only sent one of the bits that he ordered earlier that day, thus denying me instantly the full satisfaction and post traumatic relief of a fully repaired van. Oh well, back for the rest this week. Yes they did a temporary repair on the other part for which they had no part so as long as I don’t drive to Liverpool, I should be OK.

Well I’ve just paid our rent today, so after that I think I need a lie down…Have a great week and see you soon.

Mike.

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Shafted then relief

Audio, Lifestyle

Hi there just a quick one this week. I’d just like to say to DR. S. at the St Richards hospital. You are a real a***hole. I played extra time for you and I broke the golden rule. I didn’t ask you for money up front. I wonder what would have happened if I didn’t ask for the main fee upfront? Would you have shafted me over that as well? Probably but we’ll never know. Sometimes I’m too trusting but I’m not a total bloody moron! Interesting subject is money and payment. Right now a mate of mine is trying to get money out of a certain hotel in Brighton for a number of Christmas functions, one of which I did for him myself. This hotel chain is owned by a multi millionare from what I am told and has a pretentious variation on the word “blue” in it’s title/brand name. The payment has been politely asked for, invoiced, politely asked for and subsiquently ignored and ignored and ignored. It’s now at the court stage and they are theatening an order to shut down the business or some such “seemingly out of proportion, but necessary to solve the problem” thing.

Just think how much better this world would be if everyone, business and private actually paid their bills on time! Yes it’s mad, it’s crazy and it seems like a new and radical idea doesn’t it? No not really. Bills are my first priority. If you make extra money. Pay the bills first. Peace of mind is priceless. Carribean holidays are nice if there’s enough left over. If not, you have more time than you think. Make the extra money. Don’t borrow unless it’s an emergency. Debt and late payment are the scurge of the modern age, along with drugs and fake mental disorders – To sell more drugs of course. Anyway, I digress. Tight b*****ds are not exclusively rich. There are poor tight b*****ds and rich tight b*****ds. It’s not a good measuring stick. At least poor tight b*****ds have some justification for holding onto their precious lolly (there’s a word from the past). Rich tight b*****ds or even slightly rich tight b*****d doctors have no justification. If you deliver a great product (which everyone else agreed that I did) then you should have fair exchange for it and if that doesn’t sound fair it’s a good sign of insanity. So there you are Doctor S. You’re not just a tight slightly rich b*****d but you’re a fruit cake too with a genuine mental disorder. I’d just like to finish this bit by saying thank you to the other doctor who promised to sort out payment the next day and then never called. You guys are an inspiration to us all.

In complete contrast I would like to say a big thankyou to Wendy and family with the After eight club for a great comedy relief night on the Friday 18th March where we raised around £500.00 and the crowd were absolutley brilliant. I love it when the crowd get’s into the dancing en-mass. It’s my main statistic of course and try as one might it doesn’t always happen.

See you all next time and have a great week. Don’t forget the clocks go forward this weekend so I feel your pain when it comes to getting up an hour earlier! Take care,

Mike.

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80’s night with a couple of celebrities

Audio, Lifestyle

Hi all. Haven’t posted for a while as this winter has been pretty quiet to tell the truth. Never mind. Had an 80’s party on Saturday hosted By Stuart Duff from Megafan records for his wife Yolanda’s birthday. I had to increase the size of the already large show to accomodate the main attraction Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot from 80’s number 1 selling album band Curiosity Killed The Cat. Not that Ben is large physically, I mean I had to dig out the old CDN88’s (twin CD player – one of the best in it’s day) to play the backing tracks for the act. This made a large disco set up as you can see below:

Ben sang well and got a great reaction from the ladies:


Also a really nice guy and a fellow Level 42 fan, so that means he can do no wrong in my book..

Also, at some point in the night, one of Stuarts other artists (he actually has Chaka Khan on his books amongst others!),Robbie Craig from 2 step garage act Artful Dodger sang “Woman Trouble” with his lady support vocalist joining in on the choruses. Wow! what a voice that bloke has..And his lady too! every bit as good. I must say although I loved Curiosity and bought their debut album on cassette, I had a special place in my heart for  the Artful Dodger track. I was just starting out as a DJ early in the naughties when this track appeared on the scene. It never got a huge reaction on the dance floor at the time, but you know what? I loved it and I was behind the decks, so on it went gig after gig. I don’t often make exceptions like that, but this song was funkay.


You can just see yours truly looking much more serious than I actually am as usual..

All in all a great night and Beckie I have to say got right into th idea and dressed for the part:

This picture doesn’t do her look justice but it’s the best I’ve got on this camera.

Well hope you enjoyed this blog at least a little as much as I enjoyed doing the show. Check out Stuart and Yolandas review

Ok see you next time and have a great week.

Cheers,

Mike.

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Do you think size matters?

Audio

Hi again everybody. I have an idea which I’ve bored others with from time to time over the years but never really voiced in the broad spread that this blog no doubt achieves!

Ok actually I’ve no idea how many folks read my humble thoughts other than a few definites but anyway, what do you think of this…

I nearly always do gigs which start at around 7:30 pm and end at around midnight.

That’s a long time isn’t it? do you think the crowd dance attentively for all that time? Mostly no. I mean there’s usually upwards of two or three at least on the floor for most of the night but the main rush comes at around 9:30pm to 10:00pm and then again in the last 45 minutes. This isn’t because I’m a bad DJ. Read the reviews yourself.

Just occasionally or at Christmas functions I come on late and play for 2 to 3 hours. This has the effect of concentrating everyones attention and the shows can’t help but be more snappy and a little bit more exciting. In fact I’ve had some of my wildest gigs and best crowd reaction in this shorter format. This, I’m guessing is why most concerts are around this length. Just immagine if I came on at 9 or 10pm and everybody just went for it big time on the floor…..This is why I charge a set fee now and not so much an hourly rate, as I believe after many years of exprience that it’s quality, not quantity that counts and let’s not forget the oldest rule of entertainment: Always leave ’em wanting more…Not for nothing was that saying a cliche long long ago.

If your another DJ reading this or another customer or a friend, I’d really appreaciate your view on this. I’m genuinly interested to know what everyone else thinks.

Not a lot to say other than that rather important point, except that spaces are filling up for the summer now so please don’t miss out on the wonder that is the Cloud And Sun funky-assed disco in 2011!

Take care and see you soon..

Mike.

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Christmas and new year round up

Audio, Lifestyle

Hi everyone! Hope you had a great Christmas. I thought we had a quieter one than usual work wise, but I’ve totted up the income and it’s almost exactly the same as last year. Not only that, I’ve discovered that I made a mistake in last years final gross profit figure and I’ve paid too much tax as a result! Bugger! Never mind. I guess they need the extra money after the last lot ballsed up the economy so much – with help from the bankers but not exclusively of course.

Anyway, talking of ballsing it up. I got a last minute New Years Eve gig and the host told me to set this confetti cannon off at midnight. I say to him: “Do I need to take this polythene off if the tube first?” “No I think it’s fine” he says. So come midnight I play the new year chimes (which last about a minute). All this time I’m trying to twist this ruddy cannon tube open and not getting anywhere.

Finally the chimes end and …well nothing. Dead air as they say on radio. I rush over and start Auld lang Syne on the other decks (it’s complicated but the start of the chimes needs cueing out as it goes on forever – otherwise I’d have programmed it up on the laptop) and a cheer goes up. I realise that this ruddy polythene needs to come off so I’m about to set fire to it with my lighter (for speed – used to do this with CD covers) when Becky clocks what’s going on and comes and rips it off in one surprising and slightly annoyingly smooth and efficient German movement, thus enabling me to fire off at last the confetti on to a now Auld Lang Syne swaying Audience.

I told the host what happened after and he was cool about it. “Oh yeah” he said, “we had the same problem earlier in the car park”. At first I thought; Why were they setting confetti cannons off in the pub car park? And then I thought; why the hell didn’t you come and tell me that before midnight????

Then there was the girl on the dance floor who had a dress on so short that every move she busted, it rode right up over her bum. My god this job is hard sometimes. You just have to grit your teeth and get through the night as best as you can….

Sigh….Anyway, things are filling up up nicely for 2011, though I’m determined to find out why if you type “mobile disco Sussex” into Google, I don’t appear anywhere…Try it. You’ll see.

Have a great new year and see you soon,

All the best,

Mike.

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Warm up to the big season and acknowledgements

Audio, Lifestyle

Hi all. Just to let you know I’m available again for New Years Eve due to a cancellation. Prices start at £500.00 for an amazing night out. New years eve is the best night of the year so make sure you book the best. Last year I was at The Ship Hotel in Chichester and it was wild! Enquiries are bound to come in even at this late hour so don’t um and err for long…

Reviews

Thanks to my clients this weekend for showing your love. Mel, Chris, Joelle and Dave in that order. Hope to see you all again soon and thanks for the great reviews.

Hello to Andy. Nice talking with you today. Hope it all works out this year and next.

TV

My tip for Christmas TV. Most of you out there have posh new HD ready TV’s in your front room right? I bet you have at least one laptop with an HDMI connection. Well if you do, Get yourself an extra cable so when the awful TV comes on you can run your TV catch up sites through your big screen TV and watch all the best of what you didn’t have time to watch before. If you havent got an HDMI connection from your PC there may well be other ways so check it out, as most new TV’s have a multitude of connections that could potentially come from a PC such as VGA although this may or may not give you HI-Definition. Mind you even here in Worthing, I would struggle to get the bandwidth needed for that!  If you need extra long cables try going to leads direct in Seaford. You can order from their site. Also there is lots of classic comedy to be viewed on youtube from days gone by as you may have realised either from previous blogs or just surfing on your own. So there you have it. You don’t have to watch Only Fools And Horses (good as it is and was) or some lousy American Santaclause movie for the 600th time. Good luck!

Decorations

Ok well if you haven’t got your decorations up yet, why not? Come on you muppet! Get into the spirit of it all. I’m ordering you to do so! I mean we might even have snow at Christmas and then what are you going to look like eh? Just immagine if you were driving down the road and every single house actually had lights up in the front room etc. AND it snowed at the same time? I’d have to go out and take pictures then would’nt you?

Last word

Alright that’s enough bossiness. Have a great Christmas and New Year if I don’t blog before then, which at my current frequency is highly possible. Well I’m afraid I’m one of those people who only blog when they’ve actually got something to say. Commercial suicide I know, but there you are…

Take care,

Mike.

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