They’re not very good at handling criticism, are they? Yousef is the latest to do a Terrence Parker by blocking this blog’s Twitter account – and all because I asked a few difficult questions…

For some people, this blog is their guilty secret. They wouldn’t want to admit to ever reading it – a bit like the way UK opinion polls frequently underestimate support for the Tories – but they’re out there, avidly watching to see what comes up next. And occasionally, they inadvertently out themselves as fans.

It appears Yousef has been here at some point, too. Because I discovered earlier today that he has blocked this blog’s Twitter account. Like many of the terribly thin-skinned individuals which dominate this industry, he obviously found something I’d written which he didn’t like. He’s also been emailed a few times in the past for comment before publication.

I strongly suspect it was my criticism of him for inviting plague rave DJ favourite Sven Väth to his Covid test event in Liverpool which did it. I wrote about it extensively – even excoriating his attempts to rewrite history when Mixmag dared to ask him about it. A lot of DJs have opted to ignore the plague rave thing, hoping it’ll go away.

But why did Yousef choose to say nothing? After all, he’s not a man noted for remaining silent on things he’s passionate about. Back in March, he posted on Instagram about a Zoom meeting he’d had with UK Labour leader Keir Starmer. And last October, he was working hard to “save the events economy”, as he put it.

And say what you like about Yousef, but the man showed leadership by putting his hat in the ring when it came to staging a Covid test event – I understand that several other venues, including at least one in London, were approached but refused. But on the plague rave DJ question, Yousef remained, like most of his colleagues, silent.

Could it be because he wanted to avoid sabotaging his future work prospects? I note with interest that his tour of North America is due to start next week – the first of those gigs is in Mexico on September 30th, which was hit by a huge Covid wave earlier this year. Bar Américas, along with other venues in Mexico, might not have appreciated being caught in the crossfire of arguments about plague raves.

That would be understandable – but I don’t accept for one second this lets Yousef off the hook. He chose to be sensible and not do any plague raves – I understand many of the big DJs were offered such work, and he is most likely amongst them. And the USA is only marginally less sensitive – they were harshly criticised for opening too early as well.

But the harsh truth is when you’re in the public eye, people have the right to ask questions. And when they respond to such questions by blocking instead of engaging – just like Terrence Parker did when I asked him awkward questions – they have the right to draw their own conclusions…

One year on from Erick Morillo’s death, will the likes of Sharam, Yousef and Pete Tong finally apologise to the world for their utterly nauseating tributes?

It was one year ago to the day today that we learnt Erick Morillo had taken the easy way out. Facing a rape charge and with a court appearance due, Morillo was found dead in his plush Miami home on September 1st last year. How would the many DJs, producers, singers and others who knew him handle this particular hot potato?

Well, the answer was just as expected. By and large, they handled it terribly. Sharam, for example, referred to Morillo as “a troubled soul… many geniuses are”. Yousef described him as “troubled, less than perfect” in a tweet he deleted later. Pete Tong claimed he “had his demons”. And Jamie Jones said he “was not perfect”.

Dennis Ferrer made a particularly disgraceful statement – simply saying “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. Of the five men here, Jamie Jones was the only one with the decency to accept just how utterly insensitive his comments were – and with the courage to apologise.

The rest – and that includes other DJs like Danny Tenaglia, Joseph Capriati, Steve Lawler, Carl Cox and Nervous label boss Michael Weiss – have never had the good manners to own their words. Yousef, for example, took the coward’s way out – he deleted the gushing tweet he wrote about his dead friend, and steadfastly refused to explain why the tweet had been removed, let alone say sorry for it.

So, one year on, I ask the question – when will these DJs have the bottle to admit they got this wrong? When will they accept they made a mistake and apologise? And will any of them try and do better in the future?

For some reason, the expression “p***ing in the wind” comes to mind…

Learning to live with the virus or rich (mostly) white men wanting to get back to making lots of money – what’s REALLY motivating the guests behind the “Co-Existing With Covid” show?

Over the past week or so, I’ve seen this programme being promoted quite heavily on social media. Which is ironic, because the show itself is much longer than anything normally being pushed on the networks – 93 minutes long, to be precise. There are shorter films out there!

The programme is hosted on the International Music Summit channel on YouTube and is called “Part 1: Co-Existing With Covid”. More episodes are due to follow in the future.

I just hope they have better names – the inclusion of the word “co-existing” makes my heart sink a little bit. During this pandemic, this phrase has depressingly been hijacked by people who really want to say “I want to get back to doing what I want, I don’t really care if more people get sick”.

Last night, I decided to actually watch the programme – possibly so that you don’t have to. But as much as I’d like to write a scathing review, I really cannot. The debate on the show is actually quite good. Whilst there isn’t exactly much in the way of disagreement going on here,  this might not be a bad thing for once.

And seeing the likes of Carl Cox, Yousef and Pete Tong all talking to each other here is quite unique. These three between them have well over a century of experience of DJing – and their perspectives on matters are undoubtedly interesting.

But one thought did come to mind before I watched the programme – and even afterwards, it continued to linger. These are three very rich men. Carl Cox is reportedly worth $18million. Pete Tong is even richer, being worth around $30million.

Yousef’s net worth is harder to calculate, but his business interests elsewhere suggest he’s got quite a bit of money behind him too. I cannot shake the feeling that these DJs just want to get back to work and make lots more money.

In a way, I don’t blame them. Being a DJ at the higher echelons isn’t cheap. The bigger DJs don’t just employ a manager, they employ a whole team of people to keep the show on the road. The DJ might well be hoovering in a truly ridiculous fee, but chances are they’re not keeping a large chunk of it for themselves. But I don’t think any of this makes them qualified to comment on how we “co-exist” with a virus which can still be dangerous.

And as for Michael Kill of the Night Time Industries Association? Let’s just say I’ve made my distaste at this organisation clear in the past…

And there I was about to say something nice! Yousef makes a plea to “support those who’ve been left without support” – whilst he’s happy to support plague rave favourite Sven Väth…

Yousef – now there’s a name that has this blog divided. On the one hand, he comes across as a pretty reasonable guy. I first came across him in the early 2000s and thought his mixing was excellent. I also think he should be very proud of Circus and the fact he’s never forgotten where he came from has not gone unnoticed. Many do when fame strikes…

I also applaud him when, at a time that nightclubs were whinging about having no support, he put his hat in the ring for a Covid test event to see if clubs could be reopened safely. And although I was critical of his decision to stick with a tried and tested lineup, I praise him for showing some courage and trying something to get the scene he loves operating again.

I would like to be able to say Yousef provided strong leadership here. But this statement he came out with yesterday just left me scratching my head…

And to think he was making an extremely valid point before he decided to shoot himself in the foot! Asking to be put on a guest list – in other words, allowed into a venue for free – at this time would be an utterly tone deaf thing to do. But when he speaks about supporting “those who’ve been left without support during Covid”, there’s a problem.

You see, Yousef decided to book Sven Väth for his Circus event a few months ago. Väth has been doing plague raves throughout much of the pandemic. Whilst much of the world closed off to clubbers, Väth continued doing sets for much of the time – including in India shortly before a massive wave of the virus hit the country.

As much as the dance music press tried to gloss over this by simply not reporting it, this tweet makes Yousef look utterly tone deaf. Surely he can do better than this?

Well done for letting the side down, Liverpool! Only a pathetic 7% of attendees at Yousef’s Circus event returned PCR tests before and after – and the Saturday crowd were even worse

It could have been so much better than this. This was the route out of Covid that clubbers desperately needed. A way of establishing that club culture and night life could resume once more, and resume safely. Yousef signed up willingly – perhaps seeing the opportunity in more ways than one.

The two nights were written about extensively, receiving coverage so glowing in Mixmag that their writers will soon be recruited to write for Rodong Sinmun. I was critical of the use of plague rave favourite Sven Väth, but largely looking forward to seeing the outcome – this was a test event for the Events Research Programme, after all.

Early leaks were promising. Only a handful of cases had been found. But how many of the attendees had actually completed PCR tests ahead of and after the event like they’d been requested to? I expected, given the clamour for clubbing to return, that the numbers doing so would be high.

And now we have the data. Released last Friday afternoon to distract journalists who were asking too many questions about Matt Hancock for the government’s liking, they reveal that 7012 people were present across the two nights. And here’s the results…

That’s right, your eyes don’t deceive you. Only 464 people bothered to do the two tests, and 3 cases were discovered. 7% of Friday night’s crowd got them done, and that fell even lower to 6% on Saturday night.

Shame on the Events Research Programme for failing to make this a compulsory part of attendance, and shame on those people who went there and seemingly couldn’t be arsed doing their bit to get clubs and a large chunk of the night time economy going again. Pathetic barely covers it…

How do we make electronic music a safe space, asks the Musicians Union? Well, speaking out against the likes of Derrick May and Erick Morillo would be a good start…

Last Thursday, the Musicians Union ran an online event entitled “Sexual Harassment and Safe Spaces: DJs, Electronic and Live Communities”. Long title, but the premise of the event was simple – how do you challenge the culture of sexism and sexual harassment that is much more pervasive in electronic music than anyone dares admit?

Well, I have quite a simple answer to this question. Stop venerating people. I’ve written in the past about the problem of idolatry within dance music – and it’s getting clearer each day that there are people out there who use this culture of almost being worshipped to their own disturbing advantage. Bad behaviour is ignored by a media that should be holding its own scene to account – but inevitably doesn’t.

Let’s take a look, for example, at Erick Morillo’s death. A few weeks before he died, it emerged he had been charged with sexual battery. He took the easy way out on September 1st last year by overdosing on ketamine – a drug traditionally used for tranquilising horses – depriving a woman of justice in the process. But you wouldn’t know any of this from the tributes that were posted by his fellow DJs and producers.

Yousef claimed that he was “troubled”. Simon Dunmore of Defected downplayed the allegations, although later apologised for doing so. Others, such as Pete Tong and Danny Tenaglia, pictured below, made no reference to the charges at all.

Several of those tributes were taken offline by his peers following heavy criticism after Mixmag published an article detailing further allegations by ten other women, and a campaign led by journalist Annabel Ross.

Yet none of these men – with the honourable exception of Dunmore – felt the need to explain why they’d taken their decisions. Not one defended their tributes, and not one of them even apologised. One cannot help but wonder whether they’d take the same stances if it was one of their own daughters whom had been a victim of Erick Morillo.

And shall we take a look at a more recent example? Mr Derrick May, of course. I have been blogging about him for a few months now. Annabel Ross and Ellie Flynn have done some articles about him, and Michael James – who started detailing allegations over a year ago – is still pursuing May with vigour. Yet the mainstream press remain silent. By rights, they should be informing their readers about him, questioning our information and so on. But they don’t.

The explanation really is quite simple. There are more of them within their midst. Since I started writing about Derrick May, I have been sent accounts about a number of other DJs and producers who behave in much the same way. The reasons are always alarmingly similar – mostly because they think they’ll get away with it, and often do.

So, there’s one idea straight away on how to reduce problems with sexual harassment and sexism within the industry. When women – and yes, men too – come forward with allegations about someone, don’t be so quick to disbelieve them. And exposing more of the scene to the rays of sunlight will do wonders too. If people think their chances of getting caught are higher, they’re less likely to do it. Does that solve the problem? No. But it’s a start…

I’m going to go listen to the event now – there might be other good ideas in it…

Yousef is finally asked why he booked plague rave favourite Sven Väth for the Liverpool test event – but who’s guilty of trying to rewrite history?

So it’s finally happened. Mixmag have not only made a reference to plague raves, but they’ve even asked a DJ a question about it. Praise be? Not exactly.

Paddy Edrich got to interview Yousef the other day – presumably Mixmag’s award for covering the Liverpool test event at Circus in the most glowing terms possible. Amidst the usual questions about the results, and the tedious obsession with June 21st, he asked whether criticism of Sven Väth’s appearance was justified.

Yousef’s answer?

“Firstly, they were all UK residents. Secondly we wanted a range of people who represent the full footprint of electronic music in 2021, and come from a range of walks of life. We obviously wanted some big headline names, so for example, Fatboy Slim asked us if he could play. It was just a range of faces that have represented CIRCUS over the years and will represent us going forward as well.”

In other words, Yousef skirted the question entirely. And I very much doubt that Paddy Edrich will be getting to do the next big interview if he’s got the temerity to ask questions readers might actually want answers to.

However, a point. Who was making this criticism of Väth touring India just before a massive surge in coronavirus cases? It was the likes of Clashed Magazine and this blog that led the way.

It wasn’t Mixmag. They made no reference whatsoever to his plague rave appearances. It appears that gaslighting their own readers is a perfectly acceptable tactic for making sure Väth and his team don’t blacklist them. This pathetic attempt to rewrite history is fooling nobody…

Why do DJs always look so miserable in press shots? Let’s see whether the wonders of photoshop technology can turn those frowns upside down!

One of the mysteries in the world of dance music is why it seems to be a prerequisite that in all pictures taken of those in the scene, they must look utterly, utterly miserable. You’ll see it in social media shots, pictures for magazines and the rest – they must look as if they’ve just discovered their dog is dead.

But what if, thanks to the wonders of photoshop technology, there was a solution? Well, seeing that they refuse to just smile in the pictures in the first place, this will have to do.

Let’s start with DJ and remixer to the stars, David Morales. On the left, he looks like Mariah Carey has said she never wants to see him again. On the right, a different story!

Next up, it’s a man who never fails to bother the upper echelons of the Traxsource charts with his mostly deeper house sound, Sebb Junior. On the left, Sebb before his morning coffee. On the right, Sebb just as the effects of that caffeine are starting to come in…

And finally for now, Yousef. On the left, a sad Yousef at the start of lockdown. On the right, Yousef after finding out he was going to get to do a test event…

DJs smiling in photoshoots? This could catch on, you know…