Wednesday evening, January 18th, 2012 around 22:00, outside Heathrow airport
It had been almost 2 years since the last time; however the smell, the blowing wind and the sense of euphoria every time he landed on that soil hadn’t changed a bit. He and his mates grabbed a cab to the hotel close to his old neighbourhood, checking impatiently their watches anxious to be on time for the last orders in the pub; not a second should be wasted. The schedule for the trip was really tight, too many things to do, too little time.
Friday afternoon, January 20th, 2013, somewhere in central London
Vinyl shopping was of course a top priority. They alighted from the tube on Bond Street Station and his first glance was at the place where the HMV Bond Street branch used to be located, replaced now by a clothing store. Instinctively, he started humming the “tune” (as described on parts 3 and 4*) reminiscing the very moment he found it on a rack in a near mint condition at a ridiculous price.
After some moments of silence, they walked down Oxford Street towards Soho, where the works in progress, in light of the Olympic Games that summer, brought a rather industrial, lacklustre scent to the otherwise busy and flashy high street. Reckless and BM Soho were the two obvious stops as the clock was ticking and time was of the essence.
He entered BM and went straight to the basement. There were only a couple of customers, a rarity for a Friday afternoon. He looked avidly at the wall racks where the freshest drum and bass cuts were always in a prominent place, searching for something to draw his attention. The majority of the records hanging there (more than 50%) were grime/dubstep; sign of times he thought, one of the things that had actually changed along the years. Rather confused, he kept staring for a few moments when an unerring sense of direction helped him spot what he was actually looking for: a repress of Skanna classics, along with Calibre’s new ep, dBridge’s latest release on Exit and a Samurai Music cut were picked on the spot. No need for preview, nowadays promotion via social networks and alternative channels has substituted the rush and satisfaction of making a new discovery…
The lady behind the counter helped him through some stickered promo releases, nothing really ground-breaking there unfortunately, and put his purchases in a BM handbag as a souvenir. After a quick chat, he picked up a copy of all the flyers lying on a self opposite the decks and headed upstairs.
It had been years since he played a record at home, but old habits are difficult to break…
Friday night, January 20th, 2013, somewhere near Brick Lane
It was already past 1 o’clock and after some drinks and a stroll around dead busy Brick Lane they decided it was time to hit Fabric. By the time they would reach Charterhouse Street the queue wouldn’t be that long. DJ Friction, the Shogun Audio head honcho and recently crowned BBC 1 radio producer was headlining Room 2, with the likes of Rockwell, Brookes Bros, Break and Bailey as a last moment addition, completing the line-up.
There was no queue after all, they entered and went straight to the cloakroom. Room 2 was already packed as Rockwell had just finished his set and Friction was on the controls. Despite the smoking ban, the atmosphere was really hectic. Every punter having experienced a packed Room 2 will get the picture. A short visit on Room 1 for Mistajam and Room 3 for the Urban Nerds takeover with Marcus Nasty readily followed. Time flew over quickly and although it wasn’t one of the nights to be remembered for years, they had a good time.
Saturday night, January 21th, 2013, off Neal Street, WC2
They had just finished their traditional visit to the cocktail bar in the basement (he was introduced to the place about a decade ago and always paid a visit every time he was in London) and went out for a cab. This time the trip was to the other side of the river for the famous We Fear Silence nights presenting Black Sun Empire’s Blackout landing at Cable for their first London party, featuring Ed Rush, Klute, Calyx, Audio, Ulterior Motive and Presha.
Saturday night, January 21th, 2013, London Bridge
They walked down St Thomas Street, and entered the tunnel under the arches leading to Cable’s main entrance. A large queue was already forming but was moving rather fast. After 20 minutes of waiting they reached the entrance and were asked for a valid id. Due to Southwark Council’s Licensing Act clubs were required to collect valid ID from customers upon entry, they were told. After passing a metal detector and a passport scan they entered the club. “You can’t be too careful these days” he thought, another sign of times.
Klute was about to finish his set and Presha had already played… (too bad, they were the two djs they didn’t want to miss and started blaming each other for being late and not checking the timetable in advance). BSE took over shortly and the place went mental! Time to hit the bar they thought and find a more comfortable corner rather than get stepped over by the frenzy crowd. After a 2h set, Ed Rush took over taking things to a different level as per usual.
About an hour and a half later they were on the way to the hotel, as they had a plane to catch in a few hours.
Epilogue – A time for every purpose
While he was walking to the airport gate, a quick strip of flashing images struck him, filling him with mixed emotions, recalling the events of the short trip. Maybe he was growing old, maybe he had unfulfilled expectations, but things were not as they used to be. Apparently, there is a time for every purpose and would be unfair to expect that everything would be the same years later. Priorities change, music changes, habits change let alone people. The secret is probably to adjust to the new circumstances, keeping the happy memories in a box and open it every now and again. This is the way to keep sane, cherish the good times and embrace the future without being disappointed…
Dates, people and places are accurate; a few events have been twisted and distorted for the story’s coherence sake.
*That would be Rogue Unit – Dance of the Sarooes (Nookie remix) – Labello Blanco (NLB13).
To get the whole picture of the story read the previous parts here:
The end of the affair…