DJ set notes | The Joker, April 17

I’m always happy to play at the weekly blues social at The Joker, Islington.

I planned on playing a gospel-infused set, as there are religious holidays on the calendar, with Easter and Passover happening this week.

(Note to self)

I remember when I started DJing, the technical aspects were the part I most worried about. These days I don’t worry so much, but sometimes something will happen and I think, ‘Whoops!’

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A scrapbook of blues

Blues is, and always has been, music about the tapestry of life.

I feel lucky to have such a rich stream of inspiration that brings me much enjoyment, as a reader, writer and a listener, as well as a DJ and a dancer.

Being part of a wider community of blues musicians and dancers makes my life considerably more interesting, and I feel lucky to get to travel to different places to play beautiful music for people to dance to.

One of the things I love most is that feeling of complete immersion that I get from blues music and dance. DJing and dancing allow me to be in the here and now; it almost feels like a meditation practice for me at times.

My Blues Journal

I write long-hand most mornings and I have a special journal that I take away with me to blues weekends. This morning I was looking back through that journal, plus another one that I took with me to MezzJelly Blues in New York this summer.

I was inspired to begin a blues scrapbook this year, to collect writings and music notes, tickets, passes, postcards, photos and other memorabilia. I feel quite excited to do that. I’ve already decided that I need to buy a new hardback journal, especially for that purpose.

That idea, in turn, has inspired this post today.

I was going to write a different post, but this idea found its way into my imagination and I had to give in.

Memories of 2017

I would like to offer you a window into my world through a scrapbook of notes, photos and people who’ve inspired me in my blues world this year.

Here we go:

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DJ Tips Part Two | Collect and Select

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, they’ll forget what you did, but they’ll never forget the way you made them feel.”

– Maya Angelou

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Octoblues festival in Germany holds a special place in my heart as a warm and inclusive blues event, and I love that I’m a regular part of it.

This year Katrin and Jered’s vision for the event was to create a journey through the history of blues dance and music. As part of that I was given a chance to teach a class on DJing. It’s one of my favourite topics but I don’t get to talk about it too often. I wasn’t sure how much of an audience there would be, but I was excited to find out!

About twenty people gathered in the café bar with me on Sunday afternoon. I had a cup of tea and shared my thoughts on how to collect, organise and play a personal and authentic collection of music.

I wasn’t sure how it was coming across, but was happy to have lots of questions, so I thought it went well.

Later that evening someone told me they really enjoyed my talk, because I was clearly serious about music, DJing and teaching! That made me laugh!

When a complete stranger takes some time to say something like that, it means a lot, and I’m still smiling in recollection.

Here are my notes from the session. I hope you find them interesting.

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