I was recently at the Amsterdam Dance Event, the biggest and most amazing dance event in the world, which grows every year exponentially. Sadly, the growth and love for dance music doesn’t translate into television… or at least mainstream television, anyway. Continue reading →
Body painting has such an artistic romantic and dreamy ring to it that when I was invited to sing at the world body painting festival, I couldn’t say no. One of the world’s most unusual festivals, the event is held at a beautiful town called Portschach am Worthersee in southern Austria, where Austria, Italy and Slovenia come together. The surrounding area is absolutely stunning, a picturesque town on a beautiful lake, with beautiful cycle paths and the weather is unbelievable at 30 degrees.
The phone hacking drama is currently on every single newspaper cover, and with the arrest of Rebeckah Brooks this week, it won’t be going away any time soon. I know a bit what it feels like to feel somebody might be listening. – I’m not entirely sure if we were ever bugged but it sometimes felt that way.
My father Johnathon Aitken was finance minister and defense minister in the UK, during John Major’s term as Prime Minister, and the press were hounding us for all kinds of reasons, looking for gossip. From looking for my father’s affairs, to why he was successful, our lives were put under a microscope.
Looking for great dance music for the gym and never know what to put on your I-pod in the gym or while cooking, well, now you don’t need to worry because you can download free dance music podcasts. I sat down with the very goodlooking and charming Mark Bowden who runs Hyperactive, the famous music promotions company in Europe. Bowden spots hits before anyone else – every day thousands of songs cross his desk from cheesy pop tracks to the hardest drum n bass. Hyperactive has a record for consistent success rate and quality releases, with UK number ones from the likes of Lady Gaga to Madonna and a following that includes many of the world’s greatest DJs. Long before anyone else, had heard of Gaga, Mark predicted which songs would be dancefloor hits. It was an extra treat, then, to have Mark select some of his favorite DJ podcasts for us.
Famous for its music, design and enviable social democracy, Sweden is an idyllic-yet-modern country to spend some time in. I caught up with Ulf Ekberg, best known for being co-founder of Ace Of Base. One of Sweden’s greatest international successes, they are in the Guinness book of World Records for having the best-selling debut. He’s also famous for having girls scream over his good looks, and while he knows how to party, he also happens to be a great businessman—he’s been Volvo’s and Ericsson’s ambassador. In a way he’s the perfect ambassador for all things Sweden is famous for. Ulf takes us on a tour of Stockholm and shares us some of his secrets about the town. The way Ulf describes Sweden with such an eye and detail; it could only be an artist talking.
The Ibiza music summit was started by Pete Tong in 2008 because he wanted to create a “credible gathering of the leading talent from the world of dance and electronic music but also to extend the island’s season is a positive way and create a week of unique and original events to showcase a variety of the arts.” Over 3 days a few hundred people gathered in the Grand Hotel in Ibiza, for 3 days of talks, lectures, panels and of course parties. The IMS also brought together artists, major international brands and Hollywood players.
In the last decade, many jobs in music have been lost, due to illegal downloading and conferences like these are needed to help understand the future of the music business. The music industry is declining due to internet piracy, but in terms of sales one sector is increasing: for dance music the future looks bright. A lot has to do with the phenomena of Lady Gaga, but also thanks to David Guetta, and Swedish House Mafia who have helped bring dance music to the masses by working with hip-hop stars (David Guetta with the Black eyed peas) (Swedish House mafia with Tiny Tempah), taking dance music global. Additionally, with or without hip-hop stars, Dj’s are now stars in their own right such as Deadmouse, a marketing genius who currently has millions of fans on twitter, with numbers increasing every day. There’s even been an increase of dance music festivals in the last couple of years such as Electric Zoo, Electric Daisy festival and HARD Tour. On average 4 billion dollars US per year is the amount made from the dance music sector. Continue reading →
With his thousand-yard scowl, shaven head and muscular arms, rapper DJ Class doesn’t look like the sort of chap you’d want to argue with. He grew up in Baltimore, a city that’s an illustration for inner city desolation and the setting for the hit series “The Wire.” Now he produces stars such as Kanye West and Beyoncé. Continue reading →
“A sunny place for shady people.” Somerset Maugham’s famous remark about Monaco can easily be applied to Northern Cyprus. Yet it looks as though it’s all about to change.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is not known as a famous holiday destination these days. It’s a well-kept secret, and there are not many tourists. Northern Cyprus has a reputation as a destination for criminals on the run, and it’s unrecognized by most countries worldwide. The country cannot export anything and there are no direct flights – you have to stop over in Turkey to get there. The most important thing is, flights are still cheap to Ercan International Airport, it’s a beautiful, unspoilt place and an extra stop on a plane might be worth it. If you want to avoid the stop over, just fly to the south of the island and drive to the north.
Soon, there will be a referendum on whether or not Cyprus will become one whole country. Regardless of the outcome, I think it’s fair to say that the north of the island will gain recognition worldwide. Until that day comes, it’s possible to buy a 3-bedroom villa with a pool for 50,000 pounds. Prices would triple after unification. You heard it here first.
Flying into Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, I saw a concrete concrete jungle surrounded by a green belt down below. Upon landing, the weather was warm and tropical. The express train from the airport to the center of town was thankfully air-conditioned. As it whizzed through palm tree plantations, I realized I could have easily taken a taxi, as the traffic looked perfect.
I staggered to my hotel exhausted and ready to collapse. It was the longest flight I had ever taken (12 hours non-stop from London). The hotel staff gushed over me, noticing how exhausted I looked. Their sweet manner really made an impression, as you don’t encounter that sort of treatment everywhere.
As a Brit, I feel quite at home in Canada. The spellings are the same, and British-isms abound. Recently, I decided to explore my Canadian roots more by going to Toronto.
Toronto is a strange mix between London and New York. When it was settled by Europeans, it was actually named “York” for a while.
Toronto is an easy city to get around. It has a very simple layout plan and a great subway system. The city has many green spaces, and it’s beautiful to walk around there, as it feels so wide-open. Canadian flags fly everywhere and maples trees line the streets. Young Street used to be in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest street. You do feel rather young walking down it (especially when you’re walking past some porn stores). It’s also a traditional spot for gatherings.