The Christmas Dance Music Miracle

Once upon a time, a young, tall and handsome, normcore-styled body builder with no top on chopped logs in the back garden of a three bedroom, semi-detached 1930s house in Northolt. It was December, and as the wind, snow, hail and rain laid pressure down on his bare, peachy, triangular back he stopped swinging his axe for a short pause and a look up at the Heavens. Breathe in. Breathe out. These Technics won’t build themselves.

- Tonka, what on earth are you playing at? Those Technics won’t build themselves!

- Sorry, dad. I was just taking a break. Can I come inside soon? It’s windy, it’s snowing, I’ve got hail all over my back and it’s just started to rain and all!

- Not until you’ve finished the platters. Now come on, don’t tarry. You’re behind as it is!


Tonka’s dad was a cruel, hook-chinned and decrepit miser who spent most of his days cooped up in the loft, counting his hand-crafted collection of fully-functional solid oak turntables. A shiver almost broke the spine of his pock-marked and curled old back as he closed the patio doors in a huff. He crept slowly back through a kitchen floored with original deep cherry parquet tiling and a utensils drawer that, at times, seemed to overflow with utensils. A worn, heretofore shaggy red and black decorative carpet adorned the inside pavement which directs you to a white front door, and if you turn left and up, you’ll find yourself climbing a staircase. Tonka's dad dragged his worn, heretofore shaggy carcass up the flight to the landing. Ignoring the four doors that hid three bedrooms and a bathroom, he looked up with a smirk. Handling a metre and a half of stainless steel pole with ease, Tonka's dad poked the ceiling and caught a small plastic catch. With a twist and a pull, a small, wooden square came away like a little, upside down door. It was the entrance to the loft. Down came a ladder and up went a dad. Click went a switch and a 100 watt bulb illuminated an area the size of a loft in an average 3 bedroom, semi-detached 1930s house. It was the loft.

Solid oak Technics 1210s, varnished. Solid oak Stanton T55 belt drive turntables, varnished. A proud pair of Numark TTX turntables, solid oak and varnished. Two Pioneer PLX-1000s sit side by side next to a pair of Sound Lab G056Cs. All solid oak and varnished: turntables of all makes and model. A classier, more wooden treasury of turntables could not be found in or outside of the London Borough of Ealing. Not that these turntables were on public display. Tonka's dad selfishly kept the set-ups to himself. Each pair of decks had their own Cambridge Audio amplifier, speakers and a modest, yet incredibly effective and stylish Behringer DJX900USB Pro DJ mixer in black. Each rig and DJ set-up sat flush against the walls of the loft, creating a natural dance floor when the ladder was pulled up. Nobody, not even Tonka - his own son - was allowed access to the loft whilst Tonka's dad was using the solid oak turntables. The low rumble of dub sub-bass and the taut, clipped echoes of a 909 closed hi-hat married with a steady 138bpm kick kept the Tonka family - all two of them - awake, day and night whenever Tonka's dad chose to make use of his poorly insulated and secretive, UB5 loft space.

Tonka often wondered how a solid oak turntable could even function without electrical wiring, fuses or basic casing. The turntables he slaved over were solid oak; no outlets or sockets; they were wooden monuments devoid of mechanics of any description. The one time he ever questioned his dad on how he was able to play 8 hour, vinyl only sets in the loft on wheels of wood, he was beaten about the hands so badly with a length of garden cane, he could not play Ableton 8 for three weeks.


Tonka was forced to work outdoors in the winter. Each turntable was carved by hand in the back garden. His only company was the dying apple tree and the sound of his demanding father, coughing, spluttering and barking orders from the warmth of a central heated kitchen. In the blazing hot English summer, Tonka was forced indoors to the industrial heat of the garden shed. Here, Tonka worked by hand and by lathe to finish the 1:1 scale replica ones and twos whilst an open fire roared and soldering irons were left on all day by a dad, Hell-bent and addicted to making his only son suffer by, inexplicably, making him craft imitation turntables for eighteen hours a day in suitably inclement environments. Tonka was now thirty four years old and tired; a young slave, tired of a life spent obedient to a demented, schizophrenic dance master who used his only son as nothing more than a remote controlled solid oak turntable manufacturer. Tonka often turned fruitlessly to prayer.

Christmas Eve arrived on time and with it, Tonka's one day of annual leave. A day of rest when everyone else in Northolt buzzed with excitement. Christmas Eve is the day when Father Christmas sets off on his global journey around every house in the world to deliver presents and joy to all, young and old. Tonka spent every Christmas Eve in bed, resting his biceps and triceps whilst his neighbours outside laughed, sang and skipped their way past his window on the way to Oldfield Circus. It was outside The Codfather on Oldfield Circus where Tonka's dad would deliver his annual speech about who had impressed him in dance music the most that year before his old friend, Emre, gave out cones of chips and ginger beer to the local children.

In 1987, Tonka was one of those children: a proud spectator, beaming as his father extolled the virtues of acid house, hi-nrg and Chicago house to a community only recently adjusted to disco. As Tonka's dad banged his fists on his barrel chest and taunted his front row of families about the death of Northern Soul, a young, barely legal and clearly overcome Tonka fainted and the focus shifted instantly from father to son. This neatly explains why Tonka's dad subsequently entrapped his son into a life of solitude, dedicated to a twin pursuit of making wooden turntables and submitting to a powerful, dance music-loving folly without the emotional strength to fight back.


Laying on his back on a modest, single bed (the same bed Tonka had slept in since the age of two and a half) in a barely decorated box room, Tonka tried to sleep. Clutching the contraband length of tinsel he kept under his pillow all year round, he tried counting sheep but, with only a GSCE E in maths to his name, getting anywhere near the numbers required to trigger rapid eye movement was impossible. It was Christmas Eve and Tonka wanted his Christmas wish to come true. He looked back on his life and grabbed at reasons why he couldn't count enough sheep.

May 1997:

- Nine pounds an hour if you get into tool making, Tonka. Nine pounds an hour.

- But I want to be a writer, dad. I'm not cut out for factory work.

- What you are or are not cut out for is MY concern, not yours. Any talk of sixth form, college or, God forbid, university and I will grab my garden cane faster than you can say 'Miss Moneypenny's'. Understood?

- But dad...

- INSOLENCE! Do you understand?

- Yes, dad.

- Very well. You leave school in a week's time. Before the last chime of the bell leaves your ears I want you knocking on factory doors.

- I don't know any factories around here, dad.

- I have an appointment already lined up for you. On your return from school next week you are to proceed to the end of our back garden and knock four times on the door to our shed where I will answer and 'Project Hard House Infinity' will begin apace.

- 'Project Ha...

- SILENCE! Arrive on time so that we can go through your job specification.


Present day:

Tonka lay in bed and tried prayer again. He begged of God, Jesus, Mary and Joseph their forgiveness for a sin he had trouble placing. Tonka's level of self esteem was such that he was sure his life had panned out as it had through a fault of his own. Whilst listing all of the bad things in life he'd done to deserve being Tonka, his little eye lids began to droop and he was gone. Images came and went in his brain. Strange, water colour illustrations of how he imagined his father would look with a smile. Photographs of Tall Paul, Paul Glazby, Ian M, the Tidy Boys, Anne Savage, Lisa Lashes, Paul Van Dyke and a young Fergie flashed by in frames made of bleeding human ears. The shadow of a long dead hard house DJ appeared and smiled briefly before disappearing into the entrance to Trade, giggling in a loud, West Midlands accent, urging Tonka to follow him. Tonka suddenly saw himself in his dream, skipping towards Turnmills. Who was this mysterious, jolly old hard house DJ with the booming laugh, the sense of unbridled fun and a magnetism so strong it was like standing next to a massive magnet if you were made of metal? No sooner had the bouncers opened the door to Tonka, their faces morphed into that of his father's. They slammed the doors shut with a sneer and a message to, "fuck off back to your Northolt shed, you twat."

Tonka awoke with a start and with tears in his eyes. His body cold and shivering, tear drops freezing on his cheek. Dreams turned to nightmare turned to life turned to nightmare.

- I wish to be awoken from my nightmare. Jesus, if you're listening, I wish to be awoken from my nightmare. Please. I beg of you. I don't want to be Tonka anymore. I wish to be the writer I dreamed of being as a child. I wish to be the managing director of a world famous dance music blog and to interview artists I like and to curate the funniest collection of DJ lookalikes in the world. I wish for these shackles to be cast into the cauldron. Free me, Jesus. Free me. I can't make another solid oak pair of Technics. Grant my wish on Christmas Eve. Please.


Tonka fell back into a light slumber. The wind howled and rattled the room. A sudden warmness embraced his body like smack and rat-a-tat-tat went the window. Rubbing his eyes, Tonka gingerly opened the curtains and laughed heartily - for the first time in years - at what he saw. Floating outside of the window was Father Christmas, arms crossed and feigning annoyance for being stuck out in the cold. Father Christmas tapped on the window again, smiling through his massive white beard and wagging his finger to indicate Tonka was being naughty. He was joking.

Tonka couldn't believe what he was seeing but accepted it nonetheless. He opened the window and beckoned Father Christmas to come in. In response:

- Ho, ho, ho! I'm not coming in there, Tonka. It fucking stinks. You're coming with me.

- With you? But...what...why...what...but...how...but...where?

- I'll show you where when you accept my hand. Come on, hurry up. I've got presents to deliver after this.

Tonka reached out and felt the firm grip of Santa's hand. How he was then transported through the small casement window is a question he'll never know the answer to. Walking in the air, through the clouds, Father Christmas explained:

- Listen, kid. I'm doing a favour for Jesus. He's not able to make it down to see you himself because he's hanging after last nights Heavenly Christmas party at the Gardens of Galilee Weatherspoon's. God stuck three hundred quid behind the bar and, you know Jesus, he's a fucking lightweight.

- Oh. So you're here to grant my wish?

- I am, mate, yes. You wished for the closure of Club Fabric didn't you?

- What? No! Never! Fabric is my favourite nightclub to read about. If you recommend it to be closed my social media timelines will be full of mealy-mouthed, whiny, indignant mud flaps who probably haven't even been to Fabric in years getting all uppity and community conscious.

- I'm fucking joking, Tonka. Nobody is closing Club Fabric. I know what your wish is.

- You do?

- I do. And I'm about to grant it for you.


After half an hour of flying around and an explanation by Father Christmas of what Tonka's life would be like without the presence of a merciless father, Father Christmas and Tonka floated slowly back to the roof of the house. Hopping onto the chimney stack, Father Christmas held Tonka close to his chest and they both jumped up a couple of metres, spinning down the chimney and into the dark, 3am living room - much like Zangief's 360 pile driver move. Creeping across the heretofore shaggy red and black decorative carpet to the bottom of stairs, Tonka and Father Christmas both placed a finger to their lips and walked slowly on their tip-toes in a quiet and extremely exaggerated manner.

Up the flight to the landing, they went. Ignoring the four doors that hid three bedrooms and a bathroom, Father Christmas looked up with a smirk. Handling a metre and a half of stainless steel pole with ease, Father Christmas poked the ceiling and caught a small plastic catch. With a twist and a pull, a small, wooden square came away like a little, upside down door. It was the entrance to the loft. Down came a ladder and up went a Father Christmas and Tonka. Click went a switch and a 100 watt bulb illuminated an area the size of a loft in an average 3 bedroom, semi-detached 1930s house. It was the loft.

Tonka saw for the first time, the fruits of his hard labour. He was amazed.

- Let's get this party started, Tonka. Chuck a record on.

- What? It's the middle of the night, dad will hear and go berserk.

- That's the plan, Tonks. I'm here to grant you your wish. Jesus sent me to make this happen for you. We're going to murder your dad and get you set up with a Google Blogger account.

- Jesus Christ.

- Yes, and Jesus has asked that you name your blog the Weekly Review of Dance Music. It's on, Tonka. Get some fucking tunes going and we'll do this thing.

Father Christmas fist bumped Tonka and they both nodded. Tonka rifled through the first crate of vinyl and picked out Bits & Pieces by Artemesia on Hooj Choons. Placing it gingerly on the wooden platter of the left hand deck of a Technic 1210, he gasped and pressed Start.

Nothing. He pressed it again. No movement. Not a millimetre of vinyl revolution.


- I don't understand it. He uses these decks all of the time. I can hear him every day. I...I...I...I...

- Ho, ho, ho! Tonka, Tonka, Tonka. Solid oak turntables don't power themselves, do they?

- But I've heard them being played! Every day, my father plays sets of hard house, techno, industrial nu-beat, minimal house and dub. Every flipping day! I...I...I...I...I must be going mad.

- Look up, Tonka. You're not going mad. Look up and you'll find what you're looking for.

Tonka looked up. Hanging from a beam was a small, brass urn. Etched crudely, in a child-like fashion to the base in purple Crayola was the legend: TdV's ashes and soul. Do not disturb.

- Your father thinks he owns this secret, Tonka, but Jesus sees all. Release what is inside the urn and we can get this fucking party started.

- How?

- Say the words, Izzy Wizzy, Let's Get Busy three times. Trust in me and Jesus. Say it. Say it now. Time is running out because, as I said earlier, I need to deliver presents to everyone in the world before 6am.

Tonka said the words, Izzy Wizzy, Let's Get Busy thrice and the urn exploded in a ball of flames and glitter. As the smoke cleared, the outline of a man emerged and walked calmly to the Technics 1210 Tonka was previously having trouble with. The mysterious man's hand stroked the Start button and the solid oak turned swiftly and smoothly into a proper plastic and metal Technics 1210 deck that reminded Tonka of the way T-1000 turned into different things in Terminator 2: Judgement Day. The DJ pressed Start and Bits & Pieces began.


- Who...who...who...who...who are you?

The man turned around slowly and revealed himself with a warm, genuine smile.

- I'm Tony. Your DJ for the evening.

The mysterious man who exploded from the hanging brass urn was Tony de Vit. He started nodding and pointing to the loft ceiling as the kick drum started to pound that little bit harder. Father Christmas started to dance. Tonka followed. Suddenly, the ghosts of one hundred dead clubbers appeared from nowhere and the dance floor was heaving. Tonka shared a pill with Leah Betts and just as he started to come up, a loud fatherly roar overcame TdV's brutal-yet-playful hardbag set.

To cut a long story short, what happened next was this: Tonka's dad came up the loft ladder in a rage. Father Christmas, Tonka, Tony de Vit and the ghosts of one hundred dead clubbers murdered him in a savage, tortuous manner: they caved his skull in, pounded his body with punches and kicks and scratches and head butts until he drowned in his own blood. He was spat on and humiliated. Leah Betts then absorbed his carcass, Tony de Vit took his soul and Tonka's dad then became one of the dead clubbing ghosts. Father Christmas left the party to deliver his presents, Tony de Vit continued his 8 hour vinyl only set and Tonka and the ghost of his dead dad got high together. When the party finished, the ghosts - Tony de Vit and Tonka's dad included - returned to the hanging brass urn and Tonka starts Christmas Day by writing his first ever blog post. Later that day, Resident Advisor featured the Weekly Review of Dance Music in their Feed, pushing his first ever post over the six hundred views mark in just one day. Jesus looked down from Heaven and winked, Tonka winked back and gave Jesus a thumbs up.

EPILOGUE

Three and a half years later, we find Tonka living with seven or eight nymphomaniac Page 3 girls in the flat above The Codfather. The Weekly Review of Dance Music is going from strength to strength and his old three bedroom house is now occupied by a family of four, unaware of what hangs in their loft.

The end.

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MASSIVE QUESTIONS with JOHNNO BURGESS

"You're absolutely right, Johnny, this sea really is the nicest sea I've ever seen. And these yacht rock beats are amazing."

"It's Johnno."

Yes, MASSIVE QUESTIONS is back, and this week I'm sending you the transcript of my interview with Johnno Burgess out of Bugged Out! by fax from a MASSIVE yacht in the middle of a MASSIVE bit of sea in an area of the world that is sunny. In December! LOLoutLOUD.

If you've followed this blog for longer than about eighteen months, you'll know that my general clubbing chronological time line goes like this:
  • Sundissential / 1998 - 2003
  • Bugged Out! at The End / 2004 - whichever year The End closed, I can't remember off the top of my head. 2009?
  • House of God, Bugged Out!, Farr Festival, Atomic Jam, Fabric / 2009ish - present day
As you can see, I went to Bugged Out! at The End EXCLUSIVELY from 2004 until Mr. C chucked everyone out forever, so I'm more than qualified to quiz the Bugged Out! boss on his clubbing credentials.

Read this interview now, and please don't email me to complain that this piece is just an advert for the Bugged Out Weekender, which is taking place at Butlins in Bognor Regis on the 15, 16 and 17 January 2016 (tickets available here), because it's not.
Q. For anyone unfamiliar with the name, Johnno Burgess, could you tell them who you are, what you do and why you do it?
A. I am an ex journalist, ex wedding DJ, ex man-with-hair-on-head. I have been a club promoter for 20 odd years with the emphasis on odd. I do it because I love it, though in another life I must’ve been a Slot Jockey.

Q. Everyone knows that Bugged Out! started in 1994 and was named after a Murk record by the same name, but, as it was 1994, were you ever tempted to call the night something different, like Posers, Club Dream, 2 Glam, Phantasy Island or Into The Universe?
A. It was nearly called Okey Dokey by the owners of the venue. There were a lot of one word club names at that time like Cream, Renaissance, or ones like Shave Yer Gran. The exclamation mark after Bugged Out was on the original design artwork, we didn’t add it. But it stuck!
Q. I know that you hold parties around the world, have released compilation CDs, etc, but Bugged Out! has always kept onside with the "underground". During your initial success in the 90s, was it an aim of yours to compete with the likes of Cream, Ministry of Sound and Miss Moneypenny's, and become a super club global brand? What I mean is, is Bugged Out! as it is today where you always wanted to be, or were you hoping to be laughing at everyone on a massive yacht with James Barton by now?
A. We’re underground, overground Wombling free (younger viewers won’t get that). In the 90s we felt like the alternative to Miss Moneypenny's, etc, but we didn’t have any ambitions to become huge; we ran the magazine, Jockey Slut, at the time which felt more like our proper jobs.

We were also never as resolutely underground as some of the techno clubs running in London at the time that felt a little too po-faced or trainspottery. We were somewhere in the middle and we didn’t have a master plan; we just rolled with it at the time and made a lot of mistakes along the way. Which is probably why I only have a small yacht rock collection rather than a massive yacht.

James Barton has worked with the biggest, most commercial names in dance music, it’s a different game.

Q. Are you still the only yacht rock DJ in the world?
A. No, I believe we are legion. There are many. But too few tunes. We would fight over ‘What A Fool Believes’ in a yacht-off.

 

Q. Do you have a stand out night from each of the regular venues Bugged Out! has been held in?
A. Sankeys - The Chemical Brothers live with Derrick Carter’s UK debut.

Nation - Daft Punk playing the 4th birthday with Thomas Bangalter live.

Fabric - Erol Alkan’s debut in Room 3 and handing him a residency on the spot.

The End - The final night there in 2009.

XOYO - Fave night at XOYO was in February 2012 when we had Jackmaster b2b Ben UFO b2b Oneman in the main room with some relatively new chaps called Bicep in room 2. Shame we can’t repeat that line up often!

Q. Could you pass on my thanks to Charlotte, please? When I first started going to Bugged Out! at The End, she would let me and my friends in for free with VIP wristbands because we shared a mutual friend called Bring & Share Jonny.
A. I am aware of Bring & Share Jonny, a.k.a Musical Bingo Jonny. I shall pass on your regards and invoice Charlotte for about £50 for letting you and your friends in for free just because you knew Bring & Share Jonny.



Q. At The End in 2004, my mate Draper CONTENT REMOVED BY WRDM LAWYERS in the VIP bar upstairs, and I spent the following six hours telling everyone how great I felt. Do you miss The End?
A. The End remains my favourite venue that we ever did Bugged Out in, and I’ve a fondness for them all. It was the best size, everyone had their favourite spot to lurk and dance in. The staff were incredible, everyone loved working there and that radiated through the walls. I used to love the 4am-7am period when we could finish working and enjoy the music.

Q. How much work goes in to planning the Bugged Out Weekender? Do you have to book up Butlins and all the artists up about a year in advance? Who decides on the line-up, etc?
A. Charlotte has done a brilliant job of managing the Weekender with Lemmy Ashton being a huge help on it too (he came to the first two Weekenders). We collectively work on the line up and artwork and all those elements. We have a Tuesday meeting, you know! That’s where it all goes down.

 

Q. How brilliant is next year's Weekender going to be?
A. Off the scale brilliant. The best one yet I reckon.

Q. Stone cold sober or absolutely fucking terminated?
A. At the moment I am stone cold sober thank you very much.

Q. I was on a panel of speakers at last year’s London Electronic Music Event discussing the future of music journalism. I embarrassed myself by not being a proper music journalist and by not being able to articulate myself in any way compared to Terry Farley, Dan Beaumont, someone who does Daft Punk's European PR and a couple of other proper journalists, and by drinking too much to combat nerves. What is the future of music journalism?
A. Writing when you are absolutely fucking terminated then filing your copy without checking it.
Q. Linda Robson. Would ya?
A. (Googles Linda Robson). No.

Q. Do you have any words of advice for any young writers, promoters or yacht rock DJs who are looking to get their feet in the door and make a living out of it?
A. Live by the Boy Scouts motto: ‘Be Prepared’ (and add ‘To Lose Money’ at the end).
What a lovely young man! Please join me in congratulating Johnno Burgess on decades of successful Bugged Outs and wish him well for all of his future endeavours. The Bugged Out Weekender is NEXT MONTH down at Butlins in Bognor Regis. All your favourite DJs are playing and some you probably can't fucking stand.

BUGGED OUT WEEKENDER
15/16/17 JANUARY 2016
BUTLINS, BOGNOR REGIS

Definitely wasn't just an advert. I'll be back sometime this week, I think, with my review of Helena Hauff at Dance Tunnel. There are interviews with Bicep and Evil Eddie Richards in the pipeline, and something properly fucking brilliant with Shabs from Channel 4 Drugs Live that I'm not able to talk about yet.

Do They Know It's Christmas? (Tonka's Sack Dub) is STILL on YouTube and is rocketing up a chart somewhere at the moment. Ch-ch-check it out here:



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Please watch Tonka's Week every Friday: theransomnote.co.uk/tonkas-week


Tonka vs Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas? (Tonka's Sack Dub)

Bob and Bono have been sitting on their hands long enough. It's Christmas now, lads. Children need feeding and this Ebola crisis keeps rolling on.

There's no way on earth I'm going out there to help in person, so I've done a cover of the Band Aid song, Do They Know It's Christmas? If it gets more than 10 views on YouTube I'll DOUBLE the 2.5% donation I've been planning on giving to the Red Cross from the sales proceeds.

Please do your bit by sharing this video on your social media timelines, play it to your family on Christmas Day and, if you've got any fucking heart inside of you, share it again on your social media timelines.

PLAY IT

SHARE IT

STOP EBOLA

NOW



Believe it or not, this remix only took me two hours, from start to finish. I did it in Ableton 9 on Friday night before going out to watch Helena Hauff down the Dance Tunnel. I think it's the first ever dance track to feature a West Midlands accent vocal.

MUSIC DAW TECH GEEKS: I mastered it at the end by dropping a mastering pre-set over the top of the Master bit in Arrangement view. If you listen carefully, you'll notice that the 909 closed hi-hat and the open hi-hat are panned away from each other; one on the left, the other on the right, but I can't remember which one was which as I write this. I've added a reverb to some of the vocals, an echo on the second "Feed the world, stop Ebola, fucking come on" phrase and I've randomised the clap pan throughout.

Next week, you'll be hearing all about the night out I had down the Dance Tunnel after creating this CHOON (tune). Helena Hauff. Gabba. A weird, rockin' last ten minutes or so. It was fucking brilliant, but I've not got the wits about me to write about it in detail this week. I'll do it next week. Definitely.

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WRDMerchandise: Christmas Catalogue

The holidays are coming, the holidays are coming, the holidays are coming, the holidays are coming, always Coca Cola, the holidays are coming, the holidays are coming, always the real thing, the holidays are coming, the holidays are coming! Fuck me, lads, it's almost the end of November, which means that it's almost time to put a tree in your LIVING ROOM and a wreath on your FRONT DOOR and to pretend to like your NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOURS and to walk around central London (or whichever is your nearest town centre) with a GENUINE smile on your face, a spring in YOUR step and hope IN your heart for a better tomorrow.

I can't wait for Christmas. The best thing about Christmas is all the presents you get though, isn't it? It just is though, isn't it? Nobody really gives a fuck about it being Jesus' birthday anymore. In a way, I feel sorry for the lad, but, at the end of the day, all I'm interested in is presents for me.

What do YOU want for Christmas? I'll tell you:

WRDM Dance Hunks 2016 Calendar
Add some dance eye candy to your wall this coming year, ladies, gay and bisexual men, with the official WRDM Dance Hunks 2016 calendar. Twelve perfectly chiselled DJs and producers have posed topless for the renowned east London photographer, Jake Davis, and the result is a stunning collection of images that are guaranteed to brighten up your kitchen/office/welding bay and bring a naughty smile to your face every day of the year.

If you don't get a wide on/hard on when you look at the WRDM Dance Hunks 2016 Calendar each morning, you'll get your money back.

£10.00 each
Available to buy in December from Ran$om Note Corp

Shabs from Channel 4 Drugs Live Christmas Jumper
Modelled here by Jon Snow off of Channel 4 Drugs Live, this Shabs from Channel 4 Drugs Live Christmas jumper would make even the grumpiest fucker on earth (that bloke out of Scrooged) feel festive. Look at the tummy. Shabs has cheekily pulled on a pair of novelty reindeer horns and ears, and is URGING you to enjoy Christmas.

This 100% cotton - and some wool - elasticated, machine washable pullover is long sleeved with a ribbed trim AND a crew neck, and with 26% viscose in it, you're guaranteed to have the paralytic office party blart all over you at the Christmas party or your money back.

£25.00 each
Available to buy from WRDMHQ in Northolt

Spencer Parker, DVS1, DJ Pete and Len Faki Novelty Crackers
Make your Christmas dinner go BANG with these hilarious novelty DJ crackers. All you need to do is pull one end whilst someone else at the dinner table pulls the other end. If you both pull hard enough, the middle of the cracker will go BANG, and a dance music-related joke will fall out. All you'll then need to do is read the joke out loud and everyone will fall about clutching their sides.

The Spencer Parker, DVS1, DJ Pete and Len Faki Novelty Crackers are guaranteed to deliver belly laughs or your money back.

£10.00 per pack of 20
Available to buy from WRDMHQ in Northolt

Official WRDM Bootleg Star Wars Lightsabers: Sabre Swords.
To get around Disney and Lucasfilm getting all uppity about me appropriating their intellectual property, I've cleverly called these WRDM bootleg lightsabers, Sabre Swords. LOLoutLOUD. Get out of that one, George. There's not a judge in the land who'd send me down for selling neon, flashing Sabre Swords at a fraction of the price you can buy a lightsaber for down Toys R Us.

Your kids will love pretending to be Yado, the little green munchkin who fights King Fader, the big, black robot ruler of the galaxy. These two cunts battle to the death for the right to call themselves the Force Rebel and fly the magical space ship, the Death Ship. In my head, Yado wins and when he takes King Fader's mask off, King Fader tells him that he's actually his uncle. Yado then confronts his aunty, Princess Lynn, and demands to know who the man he'd been calling "Uncle Sam" all his life really is. Princess Lynn tells Yado that Uncle Sam is actually King Fader's stepdad, and King Fader had abandoned him as a kid to join the baddies. After that, I don't know where the story could go.

£8.99 each
Available to buy from WRDMHQ in Northolt

The Nights Before, During and After Christmas DVD starring Brandi Love and Tonka
One for the grown-ups. This is my first foray into the world of adult entertainment, and it was an honour to share the stage/kitchen floor with the legendary Brandi Love.

Christmas cums early (I don't mean prematurely though) in this wild, sex romp video set on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. When Tonka (played expertly by Tonka) hears something on the roof of his house, he initially thinks it's Christmas Eve burglars, so he creeps downstairs to the living room in just his tight-fitting boxer shorts to protect his massive Christmas tree from being robbed. However, he gets the surprise of his life when none other than Santa's wife, Mrs. XXXmas (played expertly by Brandi Love), tumbles down the chimney! She quickly explains who she is and informs Tonka that Santa can't do the rounds this year due to being too old, too slow and "too fucking ugly."

The next three hours show what happens when you put a fit, well hung dance writer in the same house as an older, bored and horny housewife on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

For the role, I put on a really deep American accent. It just sounds better than hearing a West Midlands one in a porn video. Brandi Love set her accent deeper than usual as well. Read the next bit of dialogue from the film in a really deep American accent, and you'll get an idea of how erotic this DVD is:

Tonka - Don't cha feel bad about all them kids in the world waking up today with nothing under their Christmas trees?

Mrs. XXXmas - I don't give a fucking shit, Tonka. I just want that fucking cock in my ass.

Let's just say that if you like watching Christmas films that show - in graphic detail - missionary positions, 69s, her on top, from behind, doggy style, backwards cowgirl, licking out, rimming, tea-bagging, facials, swallowing, blow jobs, rainbow kissing, tops and fingers, mutual foreplay, spitting, role play, tits, tossing the salad, cream pies, anal, nipple play, face sitting, raw...well, I don't want to go into too much detail, but you get my drift. Winking smiley face.

£19.99 each
Available from WRDMHQ in Northolt


Good stuff, eh?

That's about it from me for this week. I'll be back next Tuesday with a gigantic review of the night out I'm about to experience down the Dance Tunnel on Friday night. Helena Hauff, you better play a fucking blinder, love, because I'm coming equipped with my special notepad and pen. Normal punters: REMEMBER to get down there early because they've sold out of tickets and there are only 50 on the door. I really must say that.

Also, keep your eyes peeled on Ran$om Note for the full WRDM Dance Hunks 2016 Calendar. That'll be available in the next couple of weeks, probably. Twelve months of pure dance beef.

Now, before I go, check out this new video for my new favourite dance duo, Du Tonc.

- Why are they your new favourite dance duo, Tonka?

- Because they're named after the French name for Tonka.



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WRDM57

This week's Weekly Review of Dance Music is called WRDM57, and it's all about what I've done on the weekend and what I'm doing this week and next (week). It's definitely not filler; it's great.

*chuckles*

Thumbs up.
On the weekend I was lucky enough to get talking to a woman who was a friend of Evil Eddie Richards' girlfriend. I was stomping around the wood-chip dance floor at Tonkyo Nights, I mean, Tokyo Nights, on Saturday night with my coat on; pint of Asahi in one hand, pint of Asahi in the other (does life get any better?). She bowled over to me and screamed, "YOU CAN PUT THEM BEERS ON THIS LITTLE SPEAKER HERE, IF YOU WANT?" I nodded a nod that let her know that I was appreciative of her advice and plonked them both down on the little Funktion One speaker to the left of the DJ booth. I asked her who she was. "I'M A FRIEND OF EVIL EDDIE RICHARDS' GIRLFRIEND, WHO ARE YOU?!"

"Tonka", I said.

Immediately, she pulled out a VIP wristband and wrapped it around my sexy wrist in a manner that sounds dead sexual, but it wasn't. I was then dragged backstage to the Tokyo Nights VIP section behind the DJ booth to meet Evil Eddie Richards' girlfriend. Free drinks all round. Typical Tonka, I thought to myself. I can't remember what we all talked about as Evil Eddie Richards played a fucking brilliant set that went from disco to electro to house and sometimes back to disco and electro (highlight being Your Life by Konk) because I was drunk, but I do remember looking around me and thinking, "I fucking love being Tonka. It's great."

Me being the investigative journalist that I am though, I did come away with a scoop. You didn't hear this from me (you did), but Evil Eddie Richards lives in Milton Keynes. Mixmag, Thump, if you're reading this, get in touch. I'm STILL available for paid journo work. Winking smiley face.



Yes, Tokyo Nights was great. You really do feel as though you're getting drunk in the back streets of Tokyo, if Tokyo were entirely populated by young Londoners. It's that good that I'm going back on Thursday night for Richie Hawtin's Enter.Sake event. Did you know that Richie Hawtin earned the Advanced Sake Professional Certification and was made an official Sake Samurai by the Japanese Sake Brewers Association in 2014 for his efforts in promoting sake abroad? You do now, so if you're going on Thursday night, be prepared to put up with him showing off about how much he knows about sake and enthusiastically urging everyone to switch from lager whilst Hito plays her usual brand of minimal and ambivalent dance music. SEE YOU THERE.
I'm not just saying this because I'm on the guest list and am now contractually obliged to promote
Darkroom with Helena Hauff at Dance Tunnel, but I can't wait to go to the Dance Tunnel next Friday night (27 November 2015) for Darkroom with Helena Hauff. On last week's Tonka's Week on Ran$om Note, I clearly and concisely explained that tickets have all sold out, but there will be 50 tickets on the door. So, to reiterate what I said last week, this week, if you want to stand any chance of partying down next week with yours truly, then you really have to get there before 10pm. I really have to say that.

If you've never been to Dance Tunnel before, I'll describe it to you now:

Dance Tunnel is NOT an actual tunnel, but it is a small, 220 capacity nightclub in Dalston that's got a nice red light in it. Next week, you'll see me and Draper swaggering about like we own the place whilst Helena Hauff brings the house down (with support from Rupes and Nic Baird) with her usual brand of claustrophobic, drum-focused dance music. SEE YOU THERE.



Although I’ve not been asked to speak at the Take Note Educational Music Conference on Saturday 21 November, I’m still going to travel from Northolt to have a look at what’s going on. It’s at Second Home in London (course it is), and there'll be over forty dance music industry people there speaking about themselves and giving solid gold advice to hundreds of wide-eyed and impressionable ticket holders from all over east London who are GAGGING for some industry inside knowledge.

I’ll be sauntering about making gun shapes with my hands and winking at the likes of Ali Love (artist / Hot Natured / Infinity Ink / Chemical Brothers), Duncan Dick (editor, Mixmag), Nick Sabine (co-founder, Resident Advisor), Roni Size (DJ / producer / live act / label owner: Full Cycle), Becky Tong (co-founder, Juicebox / Radio Plugger), Melissa Maouris (founder, Maouris PR), Huw Owen (producer, BBC Radio 1's Essential Mix) and many, many other pals of mine.

I will also be seen wringing my flat cap in my hands and apologising to Kate Hutchinson (Deputy Editor, the Guardian Guide), tripping over my words whilst trying to explain that the mint choc chip anecdote she read last year was not JUST what I’m all about. SEE YOU THERE.
Fuck me. I've just copied and pasted an entire section from last week's Tonka's Week. LOLoutLOUD. This blog used to be fucking brilliant.

Next week will be a good one. WRDMerchandise returns with things like dance music-themed Christmas tree baubles, the first showing of the official WRDM Dance Hunks 2016 calendar, a Christmas jumper with Spencer Parker's face on it, official WRDM bootleg Star Wars merchandise (sabre swords) and much, much more.

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Please watch Tonka's Week every Friday: theransomnote.co.uk/tonkas-week

FUCKING LISTEN TO THIS TUNE NOW AND SAY "THANK YOU" TO PERC AND TRUSS FOR PLAYING IT ON A LIVE MIX LAST YEAR AND THEN THANK ME FOR PICKING IT OUT AND REVISITING IT ON HERE.

WRDM56

What am I going to tell my grandchildren, eh? Serious question. What the fuck am I going to tell my grandchildren when I sit them down on my knee in the 2050s, my breath stinking of Werther's Originals and barely legal poontang (I'll still be dead handsome)?
- What did you do in the war, Granddad Tonka?

- Which one, Konrad?

- World Gulf Three, Granddad Tonka.

- What the fucking hell are you on about, sonny? When Jezza Corbyn swept to power in 2020, all the wars stopped. He melted down all the nuclear weapons and the world's been fucking boring ever since.

- Sorry, Granddad Tonka. If there weren't any wars when you were a young man, what did you do?

- Well, I used to run a blog called the Weekly Review of Dance Music. It was world famous.

- Really, Granddad Tonka?

- Yes, Konrad. You see, in the 2010s the world was very different to how it is now. You had all these people called DJs who would play music at parties, and people like me would write about them on the Internet.

- People, real people, would play the music at parties, Granddad Tonka? What, like a Music-O-Tron 4000?

- Exactly. These days, clubbers, quite rightly, don't care who's selecting the records down the Apple McDance Hub MMLV. Back when I was a young 'un, there was a cult of personality amongst the dance music community, the paper and online press and the punters that meant talent, hard work, artistic integrity and honesty meant fuck all unless you were "in" with the right people or any good on social media and brown-nosing.

- Were you "in", Granddad Tonka?

- No, I stood apart from all that, laddie. Yes, I interviewed the likes of Soul Clap, DJ Harvey, Surgeon, Perc, Jeremy Healy, Disco Bloodbath, Egyptian Lover, Acid Pauli, Truss, Dinky, Joe Muggs, Pittsburgh Track Authority, Tony De Vit and Tim Sheridan. Yes, I was voted Blog of the Week in the Guardian in July 2013. Yes, I scored an enormous viral hit with Ben Klock - Being Boiled, also in 2013, also with Tim Sheridan, and yes, I was interviewed by the UK's biggest selling news and current affairs magazine, Private Eye, in September 2015 after giving VICE and Thump a good hiding for not paying me seventy five pounds for an article after they promised to pay me seventy five pounds. Yes, I was a special guest on a panel to discuss the future of music journalism at the London Electronic Music Event in 2014, sharing the stage with the woman who was heading up Daft Punk's UK press relations at the time, Terry Farley, Dan Beaumont and some other people who were big hitters in the industry, but not names you'd automatically recognise right now if I told you. Yes, young Konrad, I was "in", but at the same time, I was "out". Know what I mean?

- I don't know, Granddad Tonka. On paper, you sound like you were very much an important part of the dance music community in the 2010s.

- That's beyond question, kidda. What I'm saying is, I had the writing ability, the unique-ability and the down right writing ability to secure top-level, A-list artists who were looking to publicise their work with a writer, your Granddad Tonka, who for many years was on top of, and ahead of, his game without comprising my credibility and embarrassing myself like lots of other writers were at the time. Dance music journalism was a state, Konrad. An absolute state.

And do you think I paid to get into a nightclub after about the year 2013? LOLoutLOUD. Kon, I had nightclubs falling over themselves to write my name down on their A4 clip boards, from about the year 2013. I'll tell you that. I was somebody. I was a name alright. And another thing...

- (interrupting) In what respect, Granddad Tonka?

- You what?

- In what respect were you unique and ahead of the game?


I could go on and finish that hypothetical, futuristic transcript of the conversation I may one day have with our Konrad in 2054, but I was getting bored of detailing my legacy. The point is, I'm sat here at my desk in WRDMHQ, the Northolt breeze swirling around in the back garden, blowing leaves everywhere, and I've got the soundtrack to Sicario by Jóhann Jóhannsson on my CD player. As far as film soundtracks go, I've only ever listened to the Human Traffic one before, so I don't know if Sicario is any good or not in comparison to other soundtracks. It's fucking scary though, I'll tell you that. Every single track on it sounds like it could be the breakdown to every single track on Berghain 07 by Function. When I put it like that, it must be good then.

Sicario - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 
By Jóhann Jóhannson / OUT NOW

8/10

Fuck me. I just did a review without even realising it! What was the point I was trying to make? Well, I'm sat here at WRDMHQ listening to a spooky soundtrack - the Northolt wind howling - whilst simultaneously writing WRDM56 and some MASSIVE QUESTIONS for Bicep (WRDM56 on my black Samsung laptop with my right hand, MASSIVE QUESTIONS on my white Apple iPad 2 with my left), and I think I'm trying to say how great the Weekly Review of Dance Music is compared to everything else in dance.

I'm the nicest man in dance.
I'm very kindly interviewing Bicep soon, even though they forcefully rejected my offer to be in a WRDM Dance Hunks 2016 calendar - at least they responded; I'm still waiting to hear back from Daniel Avery about an interview based entirely on our mutual love of late 80s/early 90s WWF. I'm trying to pitch the calendar idea to various websites and magazines at the moment, but nobody is having it. Apparently, DJs and producers just don't like the idea of posing topless in garages and kitchens anymore. At this rate, WRDM Dance Hunks 2016 is going to be eleven months of me in my pants and one of Dave Clarke (the only DJ so far to have agreed to appear topless).

So, what is the point of WRDM56? I don't know anymore, it's beginning to fizzle out a bit now, like a firework. I started off thinking that I could do a really clever piece where an old age Tonka talks to his grandson in the 2050s about the state of dance music in the 2010s, but that petered out when our lickle Konrad pissed on my bonfire by asking me why I thought I was something special.

I hate it when people question me.

Speaking of people questioning things, how about them rumours about Seb Fontaine being banned from Sainsbury's for life? I doorstepped the Malibu Stacey resident outside his Twitter HQ earlier today to ask for a statement:

No smoke without fire. He must have done something properly fucking mental to get banned from a supermarket. I'll ask Mike Coupe what happened. I'm playing golf with him at the weekend.

COMING SOON TO WRDM

WRDMerchandise: Christmas Catalogue- Christmas shopping has never been so dancey.

MASSIVE QUESTIONS with BICEP - Talking about The Troubles has never been so dancey.

Jay-Z - Poppin' Tags (Tonka's Reggae Remix) - Brag rap remixes have never been so dancey.

And so much more...

KEEP TUNED, YOU BOZOS

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MASSIVE QUESTIONS with TRUSS

Anybody who says that the Weekly Review of Dance Music is running out of steam after four years of relentlessly impressive, laser-focused and singular dance music penmanship with little-to-no financial gain or professional progression aside from the occasional RA Feed spot or an interview in Britain's biggest-selling news and current affairs magazine, Private Eye, or that I'm spreading myself too thin with the Tonka's Week stuff on Ran$om Note every Friday, or that WRDM is now simply a vanity project dumping ground for interviews with DJs and artists I'm friendly online with, plugs for music I haven't listened to and lazy, half-finished and pointless ideas, and is no longer a credible alternative to the popular, but similarly faceless, dance magazine powerhouses who don't really care about their readership in the way that I do, needs their fucking heads testing.

The Weekly Review of Dance Music is so much more than all of that. Tonka is still brimming with new ideas, not pointless and recycled ones. I've got so many forks in the pie that it's not even a pie anymore; it's just a load of forks with gravy and pastry all over them. I've got so many features in the pipeline, the pipeline has got all clogged up and I'm having to pour baking soda, vinegar and kettles full of boiling water down it from head height. Yes, the Weekly Review of Dance Music STILL has a purpose. If you're not reading WRDM, you're reading those weird reviews in Mixmag written by people who are told what to write by an editor, or those useless, click-bait shit meals that get served up on Thump...

...I've got to get over these petty, personal problems I've got with people at Mixmag and Thump. It's not doing me any good, and I mustn't let a couple of bad apples spoil the whole bunch. Sorry.



Anyway, over the weekend, I met up with a DJ and producer called Truss. He's doing very well for himself at the moment, travelling the world and playing in nightclubs like Dude Club in Italy and Berghain in Germany. He's off to Australia next month. Can you imagine how brilliant it must be to be an international DJ? I should have asked him that, but I forgot.

I caught up with Truss as he was mentally preparing for his upcoming headline slot at House of God next week. I rushed to grab the yoga mat next to his, which made Ali Wells tut at the time, but this is London; you snooze, you lose.

We shared a whispered conversation whilst his middle-aged, but very, very fit instructor barked orders at us over the top of Diabolis Ex Machina by Arcane Device. Here is the transcript:
Q) For anyone unfamiliar with the name, Truss, could you tell them who you are, what you do and why you do it?
A) I'm Thomas Benson Russell, and I play music at parties because I'm shit at socialising.

Q) Why did you choose the moniker, Truss, as a DJ name? Did you ever toy with the idea of prefixing it with DJ, like a proper DJ (DJ Truss), or suffixing it with something more exciting like Pentrych Scratch Kid (DJ Pentrych Scratch Kid) or Master of Beatz (DJ Master of Beatz)?
A) Truss has been my nickname since my early teens (T from Tom and Russ from Russell), so it was the easy option when it came to deciding my DJ name. I've never considered prefixing it with DJ.
Q) Growing up in the traditional Welsh county town of Monmouth, were there any local influences, club nights, DJs or promoters that made you consider what you do now an option? Or did you look beyond the Trefynwy for inspiration?
A) Crusty acid tekno free parties and mix CDs stolen off the cover of DJ Mag in WHSmith were the biggest sources of information available locally. Beyond Trefynwy, we traveled to the Hippo Club in Cardiff or the Crystal Rooms in Hereford when we wanted to go "clubbing."

Q) At what point did you realise you could be a DJ professionally? Were you able to enjoy the satisfaction of giving up a job for it?
A) I was able to enjoy the satisfaction of not having to get a proper job in the first place when I secured a weekly residency in the back room of The Queen's Head with my mate, Chinner. We used his turntables, my sound-system, enjoyed free booze and got paid fifty quid each.

 Q) What got you into playing and making acid, techno and snatches of Italo? Do you reckon you’ll always play and make acid, techno and the odd bit of Italo, or do you want to branch out into other genres when you get older, like chill-out, ambient and sad vocal gloop?
A) Not sure really. I've always been down to particular sounds, I guess. Acid and techno have been a passion of mine since my teens. Italo is something I've been getting into more recently. The sounds and melodies are confident and overt, and there's a real honesty in the music. It's just great pop.

At some point, my tastes will no doubt mature and I'll get into more down-tempo stuff. I'll move back to South Wales and open up a beach-front bar/club called Café Del Barry Island or something.

Q) Who’s the best; Truss or Trus’me?
A) Trus, me.
Q) In early October, you played at Fabric. Surgeon was also on the bill. You’re playing at the House of God Halloween party in October. Surgeon, as HoG resident, shares the flyer with you. The following night, you’re at Dude Club in Italy…with Surgeon. Why don’t you guys just get a room?! LOLoutLOUD (the getting a room question is not the MASSIVE QUESTION, the next bit is).

I famously interviewed Surgeon earlier this year. That means Surgeon, NOT Kevin Bacon, is the straw that stirs the shake in most of the degrees of separation in the dance world. So, what I’m trying to say is, what’s it like to be playing regularly, as a contemporary of people like Surgeon (i.e. DJs who must have been your heroes when you were growing up in Monmouth)?
A) It's pretty surreal actually. Over the past few years, I've got to meet a number of my heroes and they've all been absolutely lovely.
Q) Do you have any spooky tunes or outfits planned for the House of God Halloween party (tickets available here)?
A) Well, I've been sent a shit-load of dark techno on promo lately and I was wondering the reason for this deluge of gloomy, gothic-themed dance music, but now I realise that it must be for Halloween. For the occasion, I'll be dressed head-to-toe in black clothes.

Q) Sixteen bar rolling snare fill or thirty two bar rising hoover with cymbal crashes on the final four beats?

A) Hoovers. Every fucking time.




Q) Blacknecks famously split up last year after it was revealed that Daniel Avery was ghost-producing Bleaching Agent’s parts and you were exposed as the artist behind the Bleaching Agent DJ act in a WRDM tabloid feature condemned by Resident Advisor’s Andrew Ryce as “bullshit”, “irresponsible” and “make-believe” on an unusually testy Red Bull Music Academy staged forum discussion with Bill Brewster, Theo Parrish and a bored-looking, well-dressed Japanese club programmer in his twenties.

What is your least favourite Blacknecks song?
A) MASSIVE lol. To answer your question: all of them.

Q) What is Surgeon really like?
A) Smashing.
Q) Last year, I spent an hour drunk on stage at the London Electronic Music Event in Shoreditch twiddling my thumbs, stuttering incomplete responses to members of the audience and staring into space whilst Dan Beaumont, Terry Farley and a couple of proper music journalists made me look like a fucking moron in comparison. Two hours later I was stood at the back of a room upstairs watching Terry Weerasinghe out of Beatport NOT dying on his arse.

When did you last die on your arse?
A) Whenever the last Blacknecks gig was.

Q) Stone cold sober or absolutely fucking terminated?
A) Stone cold terminated.




Q) Is there any advice you can give to the younger readers of WRDM who are looking to get ahead in the dance music industry?
A) Do your own thing. Do it for the right reasons. Do wear the right clothes (all black for techno 2015). Don't pay too much attention to advice dished out by second-rate producers.

Q) Could you sort me out with AAA VIP guest list +1 for House of God, please?
A) Go on then.

--------------------------------------------------------

What a lovely young man! Please join me in wishing Truss all the very best for the future and support all of his future endeavours by paying money to go and watch him DJ around the world: Truss/dates

Also:

"Follow" him: @truss_101
"Like" him: facebook/truss.music

I'll be back next week if I can be bothered. I might not be bothered ever again.

Until then:

Please Like me: facebook/tonkawrdm
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Please watch Tonka's Week every Friday: theransomnote.co.uk/tonkas-week