The city mouse and the county mouse from Bill Maher

Bill Mahar’s piece about City, Country and Trump is spot on (it doesn’t seem to be geo-blocked in the UK for me). Funny, insightful and sadly true. You can apply a similar idea to the Brexit vote.

if you want to understand why America is so divided don’t talk about Republicans and Democrats or red states and blue states read the story the city mouse and the country mouse currently being sold under the new titled what happened but the original was about two mice who learn that you’re either one of the other city or country and the same really could be said for America when you fly over it you don’t see red states and blue states you see vast stretches of land where there’s nothing and then every once in a while a city.
Its also interesting to contrast this with City Boy and Country girl discussion had for the listening project.

UK’s Investigatory Powers Act now law, UK worst for it

Weekend Walk - 8th August: Protecting the snoopers from the snoopers
In a year where you can’t help but rather it wasn’t, the snoopers bill was passed into UK law. The government has been trying to put this through for a long while and although there were changes, its still really bad. Dare I say chilling effect.

The Bill will mean the police and intelligence agencies have unprecedented powers to surveil our private communications and Internet activity, whether or not we are suspected of a crime. Theresa May has finally got her snoopers’ charter and democracy in the UK is the worse for it.

Afrofutures in Manchester next week

060/365: Afro Halo

Manchester is running Afrofutures next weekend

Afro Futures UK, a collective of researchers, artists, programmers and activists exploring new ways of examining blackness and futurism. We are hosting an  FREE all day Afrofuturist Conference and Exhibition on 10th October 2015 at MADLAB with a special rosta of speakers and workshops from the USA, Europe Africa and the UK.

http://www.northernsoulpowerhouse.xyz/playlista-cubic-garden-aka-ian-forrester-bbc-rd-senior-firestarter/

http://www.northernsoulpowerhouse.xyz/playlista-cubic-garden-aka-ian-forrester-bbc-rd-senior-firestarter/

http://www.northernsoulpowerhouse.xyz/playlista-cubic-garden-aka-ian-forrester-bbc-rd-senior-firestarter/

Food allergens warning, EU change will help

homemade-har-gow

I love dimsum, but I always worry whats inside… luckily this is going to change… real soon

Sarah sent me a link to the new Food Standards Agency’s changes. From December 2014, all food businesses will need to provide information about the  allergenic ingredients used in food sold or provided by them.

There are 14 major allergens which need to be declared:

Cereals containing gluten namely wheat (such as spelt and Khorasan wheat), barley, rye and  oats
Crustaceans like prawns, crabs, lobster and crayfish etc.
Eggs
Fish
Peanuts
Soybeans
Milk
Nuts namely almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio, cashew,
Macadamia or Queensland nut.
Celery
Mustard
Sesame
Sulphur dioxide or sulphites (where added and is >10mg/kg in the finished product. Often found in dried fruit and wine)
Lupin
Molluscs like clams, scallops, squid, mussels, oysters and snails etc.

How great will this be… another nice solution to add to the allergy cards.

All your care data belongs to us?

I have been looking into the health care data sharing thing in the UK a while ago but to be honest got distracted by the mass surveillance uncovering from Edward Snowden’s leaks. Luckily the Open Rights Group is keeping their watchful eyes on this issue along with many others.

I’m still making up my mind and reading about the positives and negatives, to see if I should opt out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a public person for many things but certain things I like to keep private. I’m still learning more but I had planned to join one of the Open Right Group’s mass opt out meetups to understand a little more.

However Stefan Magdalinsk just launched #FaxYourGP.

We’re a very small group of volunteers who think it should be very easy for people to opt out of the new NHS care.data centralised database of medical records. Unless you opt out now, care.data will soon store the medical records of everyone in England, yours included, in one giant database. Our confidential health information will then be shared with companies and other public bodies.

Some people we respect think care.data is, on balance, a good thing.

Some people we respect think care.data is, on balance, a bad thing.

What we know for certain is that the NHS hasn’t made it easy for you to exercise your right to opt out. We think this really isn’t wise. The NHS leaflet explaining care.data says you should ‘let your GP know’ if you want to opt out. But GP surgeries are busy. If you ring up wanting to opt out they’ll ask you to write to them instead. That’s fair enough – their priority is treating the sick. It’s 2014. The NHS really should have made it easy to opt out via the web.

And thats the point really… Choice! It should be a educated choice not forced upon us.

As I weigh everything up, you can opt out really quickly using Stefan’s service and the envelope below. As Tim would say, Amazeballs…



writetothem.com

Panaroma barely scratches the surface

match.com - Make Love Happen

If there is something I would like to see regulated in some way, it would be online dating…

Panorama exposes the tricks of the UK’s online dating industry, worth millions of pounds a year. Reporter Fiona Walker investigates how some unscrupulous dating websites are preying on those looking for love and searching for their perfect partner. She reveals a world where millions of photos and private details are taken from social media sites without people’s consent and reused to set up fake profiles of imaginary potential partners to tempt the lovelorn. Celebrities, politicians and even children are among those whose personal information has been targeted. Whistleblowers reveal how they create fake profiles and adopt multiple personas to reel in those looking for love – all to boost profits.

And its about time….! Tainted Love: Secrets of the Dating Game (on BBC iplayer for 1 year)

BBC News and Panaroma did good but you’ve only just scratched the surface…

How about the bogus matching claims, The Major private data sharing including HIV and STD Statuses of Customers, The crazy amount of trolling on dating sites, The nasty online scams which come around all the time, Warning users that some members might actually be murders,  the catfishers and finally something which is too wrong I can’t even bring myself to describe how and what it is… 🙁

Once again… I say NEVER pay for online dating because these techniques are too common in the murky dark world of paid online dating…

Singleblackmale on tech assisted dating

Proximity London

I’m proud to say Single Black Male took my application and said yeah they would like to me to write for them.

My first piece just went up live on the siteTechnology Assisted Dating

Today’s guest post is from a writer from across the pond. I’m sure he thinks Americans are <redacted>, so be sure to prove him wrong by showing him some love in the comment section below. LOL! Welcome today’s post from Ian Forrester. Enjoy!

*********

I live in Manchester, no not Manchester Alabama, Georgia or anywhere in the states. Manchester in the United Kingdom or England. Yes, SBM has gone slightly international but fear not the reason why I talk about Manchester is to give some context.

Manchester is famous for many things but two lesser known facts are:

  1. It contains the second biggest group of singles in the UK outside London; and
  2. It’s extremely gay friendly.

Now I’m not gay or even bi-sexual but dare I say it, some of my friends are gay (which isn’t saying much living in Manchester). A trip to the coffee shop or a bar is full of surprises. Who has not heard of the likes of Grindr? Grindr is/was extremely popular with the urban single gay males and it seems highly effective in meeting other people.

You could see this as a digital wingman of sorts or a step on the way towards a technology assisted dating/hookup depending on what you’re actually after. Before you get on your high horse, suck in your gut and say, “So sad some people need this…” Just two things to remember:

  1. My gay friends have lots of fun with it (maybe the way dating should be – sort of fun); and
  2. Is this much different than the data and algorithms of online dating?

A little bit of help can go a long way and fellas there is nothing wrong with a little assistance once in a while (now breath out and say it with me).

If you’re anything like me, you’re wondering where’s the heterosexual version?

…I then go on to discuss if proximity based dating is a real thing and has anyone got stories which they can share in the comments.

SBM nicely clean up my grammar and spelling, but generally the words are my own and there will be more guest posts to come.

Go on demand?

Webuser says Don't renew your TV Licence

I saw this while waiting in line at Booths today… and thought

The cord cutting group think is starting to take root… Of course i’d advise against it 🙂

Interesting to see the whole cord cutting thing is starting to come out into the mainstream.

As an early adopter this isn’t really news and many years ago I was doing this but of course paying the TV Licence. Because of the TV licence covers more than just the TV. Regardless, at least 90% of the media I watch on my TV screen is on demand. Live content is rare and if it is, its the backchannel of twitter which encourages me to even think about going for live media.

Why I shut down BBC backstage

BBC Backstage Meets the NW communities networking bash

George sent me a tweet saying how much Elizabeth Murdoch loved BBC Backstage, as she mentioned it in her speech to the Edinburgh TV Festival last year.

The BBC has been the market leader for building new relationships and services with creative’s from every sector. Be it the early ground breaking Backstage initiative for technology engineers.

Shes right and it does beg the question, why is there no more BBC Backstage?

I thought this was covered in the BBC Backstage ebook which was put together by the lovely Suw. But it looks like I may have been slightly mistaken. On top of this, I keep making reference to this blog post which I never seem to quite finish. So enough, its finished and out there for all to read…

First misconception: The BBC never shutdown BBC Backstage

Actually I did… When I first mentioned the possibility of closing down BBC Backstage to Adrian (my manager) he thought I had totally lost it. I remember a meeting with Adrian and Matthew (head of R&D) where I talked about shutting it down and I gave my reasoning which made soften the blow a little. I had thought long and hard about leaving BBC Backstage and passing it on to someone else younger and full of energy (I even had a number of names put forward to consider). But it didn’t make sense.

The problems with Backstage were not about who was running it but more about what was happening around it (as we will see in number 4)

Second misconception: The BBC sits on a ton of data.

The core of BBC Backstage was the backstage license which is founded on non-commercial reuse of data. This gave backstage the license to go around the BBC educating/persuading/convincing stakeholders about the benefits of open data at a time when data wasn’t a big thing. The problem is the data wasn’t ours. For example the Met Office would make the weather data available to the BBC under strict licensing. Deals were done for non-commercial use and it was always neigh impossible to reverse a deal without effecting the production side of the things.

Lots of people imagine most of Backstage was hacks. In actual fact lots of it was people experimenting.

Third misconception: Developers found new business models

This backs off the non-commercial problem. Because everything was under the non-commercial license, when things like the Apple App Store came along and offered developers clear ways to make money from their work. We had to shut down a lot of prototypes and tell people not to use BBC backstage data in there apps.

This was actually a issue from early on when Google Adsense, offered developers a nice way to make a small amount of money based on numbers of people who came to the site. It was argued that if developers made enough money to just cover the hosting of the prototype, we could turn a blind eye to. This wasn’t sustainable as it kept coming back to bite every once in a while. But it wasn’t till the App stores when the number of prototypes and services wanting to go commercial blew up.

Once developers learned it was actually against the terms and conditions, they naturally moved on to other platforms.  We did talk to BBC Worldwide many times about working together but it just wasn’t to be.

Forth misconception: The Open Data Revolution passed it by

Backstage had a hand in getting this revolution going in the UK and beyond. 7 years later, we had influenced everyone from other companies to the government. We were there right at the start of this revolution and fundamentally changed the BBC’s thinking about data. However it was clear this was just the start and as a part of BBC R&D, it was right to move on and have the same impact in another emerging area. The developer network part of Backstage was tricky to balance with the push to drive forward.

We did think about splitting it off and working in partnership with others who were later to the scene but it just didn’t quite happen and in the era of cost cutting and doing the things which really have an impact for our audiences it was harder to justify.

Fifth misconception: It was all about DRM and the BBC wanted rid

Looking at the mailing list, its easy to imagine it being all about DRM and not a lot else. But in actual fact while the DRM debates rages on, there were lots of people creating and making lots of prototypes. Lots of them were documented on the website but there were some which were so illegal there was no way I could put them anywhere public. Those were more of a look what we could do…

Even though they were much more black/grey around the licensing terms, they drove the imagination and clearly got a number of us thinking what if…? One such example is the widely talked about blast from the past called Panadora PVR (now called Promise.TV) which lead to Tom Loosemore’s talk at Etech 2007, the Edinburgh TV unfestival and the building of the infamous BBC Redux.

The BBC gained a lot from having the debate and being rather open about it all.

Sixth misconception: There was no money or love for BBC Backstage

This is somewhat true and false. Yes it became more difficult to justify and we had gone through quite a difficult patch, while losing some key people to project. On top of that we had a new head of Future Media (Erik Huggers), moved into BBC R&D and was shifting the project up to the north of England to fit in with BBC’s increasing push to solve the London and South East bias.

Everything was changing and everytime we took BBC Backstage in a different direction, there was push back from the dedicated community. To me this is the way of the world (forever changing) but it certainly makes funding such projects difficult when you want a 3-5 year plan.

There was much love for BBC Backstage from Future Media and other departments in the BBC, there was lots of talk about setting up other Backstages in different areas as a outreach project alone it hit audiences the BBC was not so good at having conversations with. The formula was repeatable but should it be? We could have done Mashed all over the UK but was that a good idea? I certainly didn’t think so and ultimately my thoughts about driving forward were correct.

Seventh misconception: We ran out of steam

Ok this might be true to a certain extent. But not from the lack of trying… You only have to look at the new things I’ve been working on since, including Channelography, Perceptive Media, etc. There is still fire in myself and I still have a lot to give… During that time, I will admit I was well over worked and I was being contacted by many people on the off chance just because I was out in the open. This certainly slowed down daily looking through BBC emails. Hence why I now have a another BBC email.

Ultimately I want to thank everyone who has been involved in BBC Backstage in the past (too many to name). The decision was made under a ton of stress on my part but I felt I was making the correct decision for everyone including the founders, the BBC and the community. Then and even now. I mean can you imagine BBC Backstage in 2013!?

Things need to end (such as BBC Backstage, Innovation Labs, etc) for others to spark, grow and mature like BBC Connected Studio.

 

UK Pirates Are Big Box Office Spenders

Been a bit of noise about the UK darknet from a survey OFCOM did recently, a lot of the findings Musicmatch already highlighted in their study previously…

Pirates Are Big Box Office Spenders

the comprehensive study suggests that many pirates spend as much as 300 per cent more on media than a person that doesn’t download.

The information was retrieved as part of a survey of just under 4,500 internet users, aged 12 and older. In conclusion, the researchers found that of the 16 per cent that said they downloaded, the majority were termed, “hybrids,” because they also paid for movies, music, concerts and such like. Ultimately it was found that these hybrids, could spend much, much more than those that didn’t pirate at all. In a three month test period, 100 per cent legal movie fans spend around £35. Comparatively, the hybrid pirates – which are sounding more and more like something out of Davy Jones fish-head crew – spent almost £60 in the same period.

Torrent Freak goes into much more detail, even the RIAA agrees with some of the higher level results.

What I want to know is, will this change the TV ecosystem in anyway? I unfortunately don’t think so…

Another head in the sand moment…?

When Paul Rogers sucked the air out of the room

Been wondering what happened to the video of Paul Rogers at TedXBradford.

Well no need to wonder any more, Imran just posted it on the site and listening to it again its pretty sobering but theres a light at the end.

I originally said this

This talk was like no other. Most of the talks were pretty neutral about the web. However Paul literally sucked the air out of the room with his talk about the political mess and security woes the internet has accelerated. Afterwards there was a level of what just happened in the cinema.

Now you can hear/watch and judge for yourselves… but bear in mind this was the last talk after a number of very positive talks about life online

Paul Rogers is Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University. He worked originally in the biological and environmental sciences, including lecturing at Imperial College, London, but has worked for the past 30 years on international security. He is a consultant to Oxford Research Group, an independent UK think tank, and also writes a weekly analysis of international security issues for www.opendemocracy.net

dozo yoroshiku: welcome to the open web

hajimemashite watashin wa. Ian desu. dozo yoroshiku

My friends keep asking why I don’t use facebook? And I always respond with some quite crushing comments about the walled garden of facebook and the mentality of facebook users. Anyway once we get past that they usually ask me whats so great about Twitter? I usually respond by saying its open and public which means there isn’t this closed walled garden to hide behind. Some of my friends who have been paying attention usually say, “well I don’t want everyone reading what I write.” Then I throw in an example where having the public discourse is actually a good thing.

That example is now famously called “the Japanese babe” example. Unfortunately with twitter making changes to the way things are archived it may get lost, so I thought I’d highlight it on my blog so others can also use it as a example of the open web vs the closed web and or even why twitter is very powerful compare to facebook.

So I was on a train heading back from London going to Manchester. The train was busy but not crammed. I think I was sitting next to a old lady most of the journey till we got to stoke on trent. At stoke on trent things cleared up and the lady left, leaving me a whole table with plug for my laptop to myself. Anyway, the next stop a woman came aboard and I couldn’t help but notice her, she was Japanese and very attractive.

She sat down at the seat opposite me and smiled briefly, asking if the seat was free then put her laptop down and put on some headphones. She shifted around a bit and her legs touched mine under the table. She said sorry then shifted her’s while in the meantime I shifted mine too. We collided again and again saying sorry each time. In the end she settled on a position between my feet, not quite touching but close enough.

We both laughed about the footsie situation we had landed ourselves in and she put her headphones back on. She was listening to something in Japanese. How did I know? She had plugged the headphones into the wrong port on her laptop or she had dual audio ports like mine. Anyway I ended up taking off my headphones and telling her that her audio was playing out loud so everyone could hear it.

Once again she smiled and shifted her feet, so we went through the footsie thing again.

Some of you are thinking what the hell has this got to do with twitter, well hold on I’m getting there.

So we traveling to Manchester, cute lady sitting opposite me and we’ve played footsie a little bit but not much else has happened. So I decide to twitter the situation I’m in.

Unfortunately Twitter.com no longer gives you access to old tweets you may have written so I can not link to any of them. Bad form twitter!

Anyway that tweet when out and lots of people saw it, much more that I expected. Because I received lots of replies with helpful information on how I should get the ladies attention without sounding like a cock.

End of the day a guy (wish I could remember his twitter name) suggested I write on the back of a business card…

hajimemashite watashinwa. Ian desu. dozo yoroshiku

which translates to,

How do you do? My name is Ian Nice to meet you (or please be good to me).

…and slide it across the table to her.

Obviously I had no idea what it translated to and was very skeptical of doing it in case it said hi i’m ian and I’m a cock or I want to shag the pants off you or something like that. Anyway after much going back and forth with people on twitter, there was a consensuses that the mystery reply was ok enough to do. Although some people were saying don’t do it, it reads something unsightly.

So I took out a business card and wrote on the back of it the phase. With one more twitter message and lots of people saying do it! I slid the card across the table and she took off her headphones and read it. We had already hit stockport which is just outside of Manchester so we getting ready to depart the train. But she giggled nervously when she read the card, and turned to me and said…

“This is very sweet of you but I got a boyfriend already and he’s coming to pick me up from Manchester station, sorry…”

By this point the train had pretty much arrived in Manchester Piccadilly, so I had to close down my laptop and cut off twitter which meant everyone who had been wait to hear what had happened, had to wait even longer (twitter on the mobile phone in the uk was rare, plus my data plan was weekend and evenings only). She smiled sweetly at my attempt but got up and left just before I did. Later on the platform, I saw her with a guy and another girl. I just did a little slow nod to say “take care” and she smiled back. That was the last I ever saw of her.

When I finally got back online, twitter was reaching fever pitch with people wanting to know what had happened. I explained what had happened over multiple tweets and there was a lot of people saying good on for me doing it.

I have to say that a lot of them came from people who either heard about it on the public timeline (a few), checked out the strange trending topics (a few more) or saw the re-tweets from others (many). For the rest of the day I was saying thanks to people for there comments and encouragement.

The open web almost helped with my love life. Now thats something a lot of people can’t say. Imagine if it was Facebook, I would have got all my friends advice but none of them can speak or at least write Japanese. So the opportunity would have gone up in smoke, plus having loads of strangers willing you to do it really gets you going. This is something which can only really happen on the open web.

So why now am I telling this tale? Well I’m moving flat and I found the business card with the writing on the back. It is a shame I can’t link to all the tweets made during that period of time on the train, but you can imagine what it was like. It certainly made me think a lot more about social media. In actual fact it was one of the drivers for my twitter dating service – tweet foxxy or tweethookup (as it was first called), which I later sold the concept of after my talk at ignite Leeds in 2009. I’m actually surprised this is the first time I wrote this down?

DBill provisions for ISPs, a series of loopholes

I’ve said very little about the Dbill (Digital Ecomony Act), I’ve actually got a massive post saved up venting why the bill is a joke and how the UK just went back to the stone ages. But I also find it interesting how theres lots of loopholes to be found in the bill, even from a ISP point of view. Actually thats one of the most annoying parts of the bill, the fact that all UK ISPs have to follow these stupid rules even if there doing fine with what they already have.

Here’s some of the concerns

That we have to pass on copyright notices to subscribers and may have to suspend or restrict access to subscribers. This is actually relatively easy for us to do, but has implications for us and the subscribers. For a start, if we do not do things that help our customers then we will lose them. OFCOM have made it easy and cheap for people to change ISP. If they change ISP all of the history of notices disappears and the copyright owner has to start again.

That we could have an order to block locations on the internet. Now, we would hope that as such an order can apply to transit providers or BT wholesale, etc, that anyone making such an order would not go to the bother of making an order against every small ISP. So such an order would not affect us, hopefully. If it did there are allowances for paying our costs. If BT wholesale did DPI based blocking we can work on ways around that by simple obfuscation at the PPP level. If transit provides block a location we can set up tunnels to links outside the UK. We can find ways around blocks if we have to, and so can our customers.

And here’s some of the loopholes,

OK, several ideas come to mind…

  • In the event of a copyright notice, making our customer not a subscriber by allowing them quickly and easily to change who the subscriber is but continue service unchanged.
  • In the event of a copyright notice, making our customer not a subscriber by making them a communications provider. We’re prepared to peer with our customer buying access to our customers IP blocks via their ADSL line for 1p/month. This makes them a communications provide and so not a subscriber. But as their customer is us, a communications provider so not a subscriber, they do not become a service provider and so not themselves subject to most of the regulations.
  • In the event of a copyright notice, making our customer not a subscriber giving them a choice of IP addresses (change of IP). However, by offering a choice and allowing them to pick an IP they have not been allocated an IP address by us. That means their service is not an internet service and so they are not a subscriber.
  • Recording where our customer is a communications provider – which applies if they provide communications to anyone. I suspect many businesses and even homes could buy our service as a communications provider.
  • Operating more than one retail arm selling to customers and allowing customers to migrate freely with no change to service between those retail arms, thus bypassing copyright notice counting and any blocking orders.
  • Making us not a service provider by making all customers not subscribers using either the communications provider or not allocated IPs as above. Hence making us not subject to most of the Act.
  • Not co-operating with copyright holders – if they send a notice which we consider invalid, just delete it.

I know my ISP USFSN will certainly be looking at this list, most of the subscribers to there service pay well over the odds for non-logged non-bothersome unlimited Internet access.

Selling old Rave stuff

Dreamscape 1 flyer

Over the Easter weekend I have been cleaning out all the old crap I own and found not only my vinyl collection (mainly hardcore/rave and happy hardcore) but also my magazine collection. I have a load of the home computer course magazines and early T3’s but more interestingly I have Eternity which is not the monthly conservative Christian magazine according to Wikipedia. Nope its the controversial underground dance magazine and I seem to have issue 4 onwards till the last one. Currently Fantazia.org.uk are selling them at between 9.99 and 14.99 a issue which is a markup of at least 500 percent, and they seem interested in buying more. Which is good, because I could shift my lot and it will go back into the hands of someone who will enjoy them.

I also have a ton of Rave flyers in a briefcase (heaven knows why). I was able to remember the combination even after so many years and so now have access to about 250+ flyers. Once again Fantazia seem to want to buy them, but I also noticed Fantazia don’t just sell them, they can put them on Canvas and ship it to you if you like. So I’ve been thinking it would be great to get some of the really good flyers up such as the Obsession fish flyer. Like the magazines, I’d be happy to help out on any project which puts all the flyers online including Fantazia, raveflyers, its-all-about-flyers, phatmedia and hyperreal.

There is so much that happened during this short period of rave culture. The history of house music timeline is worth reading if your not aware of the differences and don’t know where house music came from. Its also quite interesting to super impose the timeline of house music on top of the history of rave timeline. There are some classic bits that even I remember reading or hearing about….

1988

At a time when football violence was escalating, rival fans dance together in an ecstasy induced euphoria thinking the world is going to change. – “…like angels from above, come down and spread their wings like doves…”

Paul Stone & Lu Vukovic start RiP. They provide a harder edged party. Located in a labyrinth like warehouse complex on Clink Street, near London Bridge, home centuries ago to Britain’s first prison. RiP sees Mr C (Later of the Shamen – who played their first experimental acid set at RiP) and Eddie Richards & Kid Batchelor play a harder more underground house (“as opposed to the pop songs at Shoom” – Mr C) to a very diverse crowd, from gangsters to people in shell suits.

In Manchester the Hacienda’s Hot & Nude nights kick start acid house in the North.
April – RiP (still at Clink) move to Fridays with their ‘A-Transmission’ nights and Sundays with ‘Zoo’.

April 11th – Paul Oakenfold opens Spectrum in London. A brave move, in that it is to be held at Heaven, near Trafalgar Square (at the time one of the biggest club venues in London). To make matters worse it is held on Monday nights. Even so after 3 weeks they had 1200 people in every week with just as many locked out. Spectrum quickly gains a musical reputation as anything goes. Paul Oakenfold even plunges the complete club into total darkness and played Tchaikovsky’s 1824 Overture on one occasion. They also hold a few nights at Legends in Manchester and one party in a marquee by the Thames.

1989

The location of these events was a closely guarded secret up until an hour or so before the start. Meeting points would be made available through flyers and pirate radio stations (Sunrise, Centre Force, Fantasy). Mobile phones were still widely regarded as Yuppy toys but thanks to BT’s messaging service they became an ideal way to co-ordinate people to different meeting points (Motorway service stations usually) and eventually the venue itself. It generally turned into a game of “follow the car in front” until you find a party. By keeping the venue secret like this they could get everyone on the move heading for the party or in the wrong direction if needed. The police have no option but to follow. So the end effect is that 1000’s of people can descend on one location in a matter of minutes. Once a party’s goes past a certain size there is, in reality very little the police can do.

June 24th – Sunrise’s Midsummer Nights Dream at White Waltham airstrip, Berkshire is attended by over 11000 people. The Sun newspaper runs the headline “Ecstacy Airport”. Other reports involve “youngsters so drugged up they ripped the heads of pigeons!” & “at the end of the night the floor was covered in empty ecstacy wrappers”, unsurprisingly , both are untrue, the empty wrappers are actually pieces of silver foil that fell from the ceiling – dead pigeons nowhere to be seen.

1990

10th August – “It’s a fad. It will be over in 3 months” claims Superintendent Mick Bromwich of the Coventry police.

Alex  paterson (later of the ORB) and Jimmy Cauty (KLF) take over DJing in the VIP room at Land of Oz (held at Heaven in London). They play a weird mix of film music and animal noises! Ambient music is born.

October 13th – The Legendary Eclipse opens at Lower Ford Street, Coventry. Britains first legal all night rave club. The club is packed all night every Friday & Saturday.

September 1st – Pirate radio station Kiss becomes Britain’s first legal dance radio station.

1991

January 30th – Hacienda closes after door staff are threatened with a gun. “We are sick of the violence” – Tony Wilson

New Years Eve – 12,000 at Fantazia at Westpoint Exhibition Centre ending with the now legendary Top Buzz set &  Raindance-Big Bad Head at Melton Mowbury.

1992

April 10th – ITV’s Hitman & Her program do a show from the Eclipse in Coventry. A classic TV moment see’s Michaela Stachen having to leave the club because “its too hot … they’ve all got eyes like saucers … “. – I have this somewhere!

June 27th – Amnesia House hold “The B
ook of Love” at Brayfield Stadium. After first announcing hit intention to get married at a rave on the BBC’s “The Time, The Place” back in 1989. Mickey Lynas (partner in Amnesia/Nemesis) gets his wish and marries with 15000 ravers as witness’ and Grooverider as the best man.

July 25th – Fantazia hold “One Step Beyond/Castle Donnington”. Licensed for 25000, the totally outdoor stage is made to look like a castle with a huge dragon in the middle of the crowd.

1993

April 30th – Universe do the first Tribal Gathering with 25,000 people at Warminster near Bath. Total chaos on the surrounding roads with a 15 mile traffic jam leading up to the site at about 9pm.

August 13th – Universe stage their Big Love event attracting 30000. With 2 totally outdoor stages set back to back, Heaven (House) & Earth (Hardcore). Probably the last totally outdoor event. Sound restriction problems cause the levels to be turned right down half way through the Prodigy’s set.

The Criminal Justice bill is put to parliament. With the new rave clause, defining a ‘Rave’ as 100 or more people dancing outdoors to music “mainly comprising of repetitive beats”. New powers for the police will include the right to detain anyone they believe is heading to an illegal rave and the right to confiscate sounds systems (like they hadn’t been doing this anyway)

Jekyll, BBC drama at its best

TV recently has been a little slow since the likes of Lost, Heroes, etc have taken there break. But luckily there is some great UK series which are not to be missed. I've already mentioned Doctor Who which finishes next week. But what I failed to mention is this great new series called Jekyll (you can see the trailer here). Its a drama with a chilling edge and well worth watching.

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