Thought Bubble 2010

We return to the scene of the Crime. A year on from my first real DJing experience we have a Team Phonogram Vs Team Thought Bubble face off. Four Phonogram-related folks versus four pded eople running the con. It ended up being a little more complicated than that. Technical errors meant the whole thing started 45 mins — a whole set late. Sheret ended up having to rip his CDs to play on Mikey’s laptop. Jamie wrestled with bass and treble settings before setting into his fashionable electro. Spotify refused to work, meaning Lisa’s set ended up being cut.

Still — triumphant. I went on a proper gush last time, because it felt like this oddly symbolic end of the whole Phonogram experience (even though we still had two issues and a trade to go out). This year was about just playing records and having fun. Which what last year was about, but I had to metaphor it up a little.

The competition fell apart before eleven, with both teams merging into a supporting system. Basically, it was very much like the Invisibles. With dancing. So just like the Invisibles, really.

For those who are interested, this is what I dropped…

Doin’ The Doo — Betty Boo
Don’t Falter — Mint Royale feat. Lauren Laverne
Baby Got Back — Sir Mixalot
Hot Topic — Le Tigre
This Charming Man — The Smiths Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na) — My Chemical Romance
Come Out 2nite – Kenickie
Kandy Pop – Bis
Once And Never Again — Long Blondes
Ghostbusters — Ray Parker Junior
Crazy In Love — Beyonce Dancing On My Own – Robyn
Last Train to Trancentral – KLF
Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me – Pipettes
Love Your Money — Daisy Chainsaw
Breakaway — Detroit Cobras

I had to remove Crazy in Love and This Charming Man as while Clark was going on after us, he had pre-mixed his set so couldn’t really remove ’em. I swapped two pretty much guaranteed floorfillers for something a little more contemporary and probably riskier.

I dropped Love Your Money as time was getting on, and Na Na Na/Dancing On My Own were a little longer than the songs they were replacing.

The plan was basically an opening of stuff which I was pretty sure at least some people would dance to, followed by some more Phonogram-iconic records which would probably thin the crowd a little. Then drop an enormous floordestroying dinosaur which I’ve always wanted to be able to play, a rush of pretty sure pop-songs, a riskier early-nineties throwback and one of my favourite garage-band covers to end. Which at the least, I would dance to.

In the end, the risky stuff totally worked best. The crowd passed the Boo test — Where Are You Baby? would have been safer, I’m sure, but I wanted to start with the “It’s Me Again, How did you guess? Because last time, you were really impressed” intro. Dropping Lauren had half the crowd in rapture. People stayed for the indie stuff. Ghostbusters did its thing. Na Na Na was fucking ENORMOUS, and seeing the towering Matt “D’israeli” Brooker and the petite punk princess Becky Cloonan team up and cause trouble. Robyn worked its melancholic charms, and KLF killed almost as much as Na Na Na. Both were the songs which prompted the most DJ-dictator shapes from the booth as MU! MU! MU! MU! Filled the room. Kisses… was always my favourite Pipettes single, with Gwenno’s rising vocal sounding epic through any loud pair of speakers. And I mainly remember Breakaway for high-fiving my way around the audience.

I didn’t even fuck up the CDs at any point, which considering it was my first time doing it, I consider a major victory. Or at least a minor one.

I left at about 2:30 where Al Ewing was breaking new grounds in his efforts as the Dancefloor Dostoevsky of the Epic late night set. The Ah-ha Take On Me live version was quite the thing. I salute thee.

Just lots and lots of fun. I wish I danced to twice the songs I did in the evening, and I danced to twice as many as was physically a good idea. Even as I left, the Dancefloor was full, and showed no sign of coming to an end. There were people who seemed to be on there literally all night, and seeing them so committed fills my heart with joy. Thought Bubble was my favourite UK con before it even did the dancefloor, but that it’s the only con I’ve been to which does have this regular, genuinely packed party with a ctual dancing for vistors and guests alike is a sign of how special it can be. Geeks getting sweaty is a beautiful thing, and I shun anyone who thinks otherwise. I shun them, I say.

Rest of the con was also good. I missed the first train, hence was late for the breaking into comics panbel. Did several pod-cast interviews with folks throughout the day, and chaired the comics and other media panel with Rob Williams, Antony Johnston and Paul Cornell talking about crossover of influence, which was wide-ranging and seemed to show a big range of the thinking of it. God knows what the audience made of it, but I learned stuff, as well as shamelessly dropping phrases like “Ur-text”, before I cannot be stopped. Oh — and lots of meeting and re-meeting readers, signing stuff and similar. A pleasure to say hello to everyone and, as always, an incredible job by the Thought Bubble staff.

And so the cons for 2010 draw to a close. Nothing else until April, by my maths, which gives me five months to recuperate my yabbering glands. It’s been splendid.