Time for a little bit of Danny Rampling on a Monday. What’s he been up to lately? Well, it appears that last weekend, he did a rave in the middle of nowhere – or a “secret woods free party gathering”, as he chose to call it.
Rampling managed to put quite the spin on his weekend, describing it as a “magical gathering in the woods under the stars. Back to primal ancestral roots” – apparently unaware of the fact that in ancestral times, electricity had yet to be discovered and CDJs had yet to be invented. Then again, anyone who visits Rampling’s page – and this blog only does it so you don’t have to – will be well aware of a cavalier disregard for facts and accuracy…
It all reminds me of an article I published back in July, claiming his outspoken stance on Covid was spooking promoters who were becoming increasingly reluctant to book him. Whilst the threat of vaccine passports in England has receded – for now, at least – it doesn’t appear to have changed the situation much.
A friend of Rampling spoke to me last week, and I couldn’t resist the temptation to ask. He simply replied with “Let’s just say the phone isn’t ringing much”…
Puff pastry is nice. It’s a nightmare to make – so much so that many restaurants actually buy it rather than let their chefs attempt the lengthy process themselves. It’s also messy as anything, but what you can get into your mouth tastes just lovely.
Puff pieces, on the other hand, are not nice. As far as I’m concerned, they’re the equivalent of fraud – and paid puff pieces are the worst of the lot. You might have realised this when I wrote about Mixmag a few weeks ago. They were happy to take the money and not point out to their audience the festival being plugged was basically a reunion party for plague rave DJs.
And now, they’ve done it again. Peggy Gou was doing plague raves in Russia last year, amongst other destinations. And The Martinez Brothers are understood to have gigged in Bali back in January. I’m not aware of DJ Harvey being involved in any plague raves, but I see at least two more names on the lineup who have.
Yet Mixmag’s silence can be bought, it seems. The pandemic has seriously hit the finances of the dance music press – and in Mixmag’s own case, they weren’t great to start with. And if you’ve ever wondered why the dance music press wouldn’t cover plague raves properly, the evidence is there for all to see now.
Those doing and organising plague raves were the ones with money. The dance press needs money. And these shadowy operatives in charge don’t appreciate being scrutinised at the best of times…
A lot of people in dance music work in the shadows. And they prefer it that way – there are few things they hate more than sunlight, and I mean that in a few different ways. Earlier this year, a plague rave DJ contacted me to give his side of events and answer some of my questions on the subject. Once his agency found out about it, they weren’t best pleased.
Their legal threats in my direction appear to have gone away – largely because they’ve got problems elsewhere. They’re currently being sued over a super spreader event they held in Tulum where a large number of people caught Covid-19 as a result. This case is likely to be in front of the courts soon, so I can’t comment further – but there is one case I can tell you a little about…
The agency in question have recently reached an out of court settlement over a legal action in the USA. The gentleman in question attended an event they held in the country during 2020 – which the aforementioned plague rave DJ attended, by the way – and caught coronavirus. He spent three weeks in hospital as a result. Contact tracers were able to establish almost beyond doubt he caught it at the event in question.
He’s now been given a five-figure sum of money to basically keep quiet about the whole thing. Word is that the agency’s solicitors advised they could challenge the case, but that there was a high risk the gamble could backfire – so they made a generous out-of-court offer and it was accepted.
This week, the dance music press have tried once again to downplay the effects of plague raves, with this article making an appearance in DJ Mag during the week. As I’ve explained before, the reason the dance music press rarely talks about this subject is because many who advertise with them would prefer it wasn’t discussed.
And because several of the dance magazines are far closer to bankruptcy than any of them will admit, they have little choice but listen to the people with the buying power – whose finances remain largely undisturbed by the pandemic. So on the rare occasion the subject is covered, it’s done so on dodgy grounds.
Like this case. A seemingly charmless 26-year old man attended a plague rave in July last year. When police arrived to close the illegal gathering down, he climbed on top of the van with the sound system in it and started urging the roughly 200 people present to ignore them. And having then apparently decided he needed a pee, he proceeded to urinate at one of the officers. Thankfully for the officer, he missed.
When the matter was in front of Lynn Magistrates’ Court in Norfolk, Dean Kirk pleaded guilty to five counts of assault of an emergency worker, threatening behaviour, criminal damage and failure to leave land being used for a rave. He got a 16-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months.
There’s a jibe to be made here about the justice system taking the p*** with that derisory sentence…
Resident Advisor are a curious lot, aren’t they? Over their 20 years in existence, they’ve got to know the tactic of selective reporting very well. You see it all the time in their news reports from around the scene, particularly on certain subjects. Details that might be considered somewhat awkward are either played down as much as possible or ignored entirely.
And under their new editor Whitney Wei – who is on a self-declared mission to “raise the calibre of music journalism” – this trend looks set to continue. On Tuesday, Resident Advisor reported on the latest protest to take place in the Netherlands. Their nightclubs were closed a few weeks ago now and are currently not due to reopen until November – something which has driven the nightclubs a bit crazy.
The latest of the so-called Unmute Us protests is supposed to have pulled in 150,000 people. But there are a couple of things which seem to be consistently missing from Resident Advisor’s reports on this issue. For example, they don’t explain why nightclubs are closed in the first place. So I’ll tell you – it was because during the two weeks they were open again, infection rates in the country shot through the roof.
Tracing teams established that many of these clusters were coming from nightclubs, so they were closed again. They also conveniently fail to mention that a huge number of promoters and club owners – they don’t like scrutiny, this lot! – are strongly against any kind of Covid regulations whatsoever. The dance music scene has a frightening number of people in it who deny even the existence of the virus – and the Netherlands seems to have numbers which are even more disproportionate to anywhere else.
A news outlet which was truly led by someone who wished to “raise the calibre of music journalism” would seek to report all the facts, then allow their readers to make their own minds up. Instead, they prefer to leave details out which don’t suit their story.
You might want to raise the calibre of music journalism at Resident Advisor first before lecturing the rest of us, Whitney…
Lesson of the day – whenever you see the words “in association with” at the start of an article, especially where the name of who wrote it typically appears, beware. This is essentially an euphemism for “they sent us this rubbish and said they’d pay us lots of money to publish it”. Such is the case with this article on Mixmag’s site, all about a five-day event called Departure.
It’s due to take place at Playa Del Carmen in Mexico from January 6th – 11th next year. And if when you heard the name Playa Del Carmen and thought this sounds familar, that’s because it is. It’s in the state of Quintana Roo in the south-east of Mexico – and so is Tulum. A quick search on Google Maps reveals the two are approximately 65km (that’s just over 40 miles for my British readers) apart. The drive between the two takes around one hour.
And where have you heard of Tulum before? Well, if you’ve been reading Amateur’s House for a while – or perhaps some of the more courageous dance outlets, which isn’t many – you’ll know that Tulum had a massive spike of Covid-19 cases earlier this year, some of which was being spread by DJs travelling there for work whilst much of the world remained closed.
Now here’s where this event gets truly unedifying. Quite a few of the DJs on this list were doing plague raves throughout the pandemic. Âme and Dixon, for example, were both out in Mexico earlier this year. Solardo played in Tulum at least once in February. And Amelie Lens has been doing plague raves since at least last summer. There are an awful lot more names on the list of people playing whose credentials in this area are suspect, to say the least.
It’s almost as if the organiser of Departure decided to browse the Business Teshno account on Twitter, make a note of as many plague rave DJs as possible, then get them all to one big event. Adding on a few who haven’t been doing them – CamelPhat, for example – might fool the dance music press, but it won’t fool this blog…
It would be churlish of me not to start this Wednesday by saying I’m mightily impressed with Mixmag’s latest scoop. It’s a good one, gathered using freedom of information requests – politicians and the public sector hate them, but judges keep coming down against them- and an old-fashioned pursuit of journalism. You can read it here.
It’s impressive. They’ve discovered that the Home Secretary Priti Patel used a dodgy methodology which essentially consisted of double counting, triple counting and the rest to justify increasing police powers against illegal raves in England and Wales last year. Scotland and Northern Ireland have different arrangements due to devolution.
On August 28th last year, Priti Patel wrote in the Daily Telegraph that the Metropolitan Police had stopped around 1000 illegal raves since June. If this covered a period of 90 days, this would mean around 11 per day. And sure enough, this figure was complete nonsense.
The Metropolitan Police refuse to release the actual number – which suggests to me this is a worse scandal than they’re currently owning up to. But what remains unanswered right now is where this all started.
Did Priti Patel misinterpret the number and it gained a life of its own after she published it? Was the one thousand figure supplied by the police and in what context? Or is this a deliberate attempt by the establishment to lie in order to get what they want?
Somehow, I don’t think this one is finished just yet…
Plague rave DJs typically don’t talk about the plague rave. They ignore it and pretend it never happened. Only one had the courage to explain themselves – and even then, they only agreed to do it on condition of anonymity. The others? They ignore comments and questions on the subject. The more persistent ones, like Business Teshno, just get blocked.
And they post photos of themselves in the likes of Zanzibar or Tulum, yet fail to elaborate on just what the hell they’re doing there. Even this has previously come across as tone deaf, seeing the citizens of numerous countries have been subject to stay at home orders during the times when Covid rates were rising.
Which is why I found this one just downright weird. A reader emailed me with this screenshot from Dubfire’s Instagram account. It was a story that he posted on Saturday – the words are from someone else, but people tend not to post things they don’t agree with on social media…
As it happens, I agree with much of what’s written here. Speaking personally, I’m not an expert on all things in dance music – but I don’t try and bluff everyone. Instead, I have friends and sources who do know about the subjects that I’m weaker on. No one can be an expert on everything, it’s that simple.
But I can’t help but wonder why Dubfire is posting this. And my theory is that this is a subconscious attempt to justify doing plague raves in the likes of Tulum months ago. I suspect Dubfire is trying to say no one understands his perspective on this issue, but claims more expertise on the subject than he’s credited for.
If this is the best you can do, I’m really not impressed…