Tuesday, 11 November 2008

There Is An Alternative To Statins

Dr. John Moran explains when it is really necessary to resort to statins.

1.8 million people in England alone currently take statins and they are the most widely prescribed class of drugs, and the most expensive item on the NHS drugs bill, costing over £700m a year.

Statins are drugs used to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of stroke or coronary heart disease. They work by blocking cholesterol production in the body through inhibiting an enzyme called HMG-CoA. They may also help the body reabsorb the plaque which has accumulated on the artery walls, preventing the life-threatening blood clot which could lead to a stroke or heart attack.

One clinical trial concluded that statins reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease by around a third, if taken over a period of three years.

Sounds too good to be true? Some medical experts think so.

By blocking the HMG-CoA enzyme, statins not only deplete the body of cholesterol but also the beneficial natural substance, co-Enzyme Q10, an antioxidant and cellular energiser which is present in healthy hearts.

Statins also have potential side effects, ranging from the moderate to severe. Moderate symptoms include nausea, diarrhoea, constipation, lack of sex-drive, and muscle aching; severe side effects are an increase the production of liver enzymes which can eventually damage the liver, and severe muscle pain and tenderness (statin myopathy).

In severe cases the muscle cells can break down and release a protein called myoglobin into the bloodstream. Myoglobin can impair kidney function and lead to kidney failure.

Last year, plans were outlined to make statins available over the counter from pharmacies, and in January this year, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence recommended that GPs prescribe statins to anyone with a 20 per cent chance of having a heart attack or stroke over the next ten years. Many GPs have voiced concerns over this suggestion, including Dr John Moran.

Dr Moran of the Holistic Medical Clinic in London’s Wimpole Street began his career in the early 1970s in dentistry, before moving to the Medical Commission in 1979. He then became interested in women's hormonal health and worked at Mary Stopes for seventeen years, training in psychosexual and sexual medicine. He has since become interested in the role of nutrition in health care, and last year finished his post graduate masters in nutritional medicine.

"I have concerns about people being able to buy statins over the counter without supervision, because I think in many cases there are much better ways to lower cholesterol."

"The patient won't have been given any advice from their GP, the pharmacists won't know their family history, and how can you tell what their blood pressure is? But, if people are in a high risk category - by that I mean if they are overweight, they smoke, have high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, or a history of coronary heart disease - then they very much need to go on to statins because the track record of what they do is extremely good."

Dr Moran says it is people who have no high risk factor who should first try alternatives to statins.

"People with marginally high lipid profiles - by that I mean their total cholesterol is over 6 and their LDL is over 4 shouldn't necessarily resort to statins."

"The first line of treatment in my opinion, should be with diet and exercise. If this does not work, then they should resort to statins, but we should not be advocating them as the first line of defence in people with no high risk factors."

"My concern is not about the correct NRC guidelines, my concern is that people who do not have any of the high risk factors help themselves to a statin when they are better off looking at nutritional things that can help, in particular the Mediterranean diet."

"Statins have two reactions. They work in the liver by lowering the amount of cholesterol the liver actually produces. Their other is anti-inflammatory, stabilising unstable plaque in the arteries. But nutritional substances can also do this. Fresh garlic is one of the best natural anti-inflammatories, as are essential fatty acids such as cod liver oil and flax seed oil. Many natural antioxidants also have anti-inflammatory action, as do probiotics which help feed healthy gut organisms, oats and soya. As far as lifestyle is concerned, regular exercise and no smoking is very important."

"Often, gut health affects liver health. Your gut is the seat of your immunity so if you have an unhealthy gut, then prebiotics are in order. Prebiotics are foods such as asparagus, artichokes and onions. I know you can buy probiotics yoghurt drinks, but out of the millions of bacteria in these products, only 5% survive by the time they reach your colon, so either eat natural sources of prebiotics, or take a good quality supplement."

The other issue which Dr Moran doesn't think is being adequately tackled sufficiently is the evidence that statins affect the body's production of co-Enzyme Q10.

"If people do have to go onto a statin, they really ought to take co-Enzyme Q10, which is depleted when you take statins."

"It has been a bone of contention with a few people as to whether they is any evidence to show that co-Enzyme Q10 is depleted when taking statins. However, several studies have shown this to be the case, and the symptoms of a lack of co-Enzyme Q10 are muscle cramp and muscle pains, which are very common when people go on to statins."

"My wife has got familiar hypocholesterol and she is on a statin quite rightly, and she gets muscle cramps if she doesn't take co-Enzyme Q10 too."

"In Canada and the States, but in particular Canada, most stains are taken with co-Enzyme Q10 as a matter of course. In this country you can get co-Enzyme Q10 prescribed on the national health under its proper name, but patients will have to ask their GP about it."

Rachael Hannan: 2006

Published on 50connect.co.uk
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Bee Gees Robin Gibb Speaks Out

Robin Gibb explains why he believes a memorial to the Bombers of World War II is of national importance.

Bee Gees member Robin Gibb is playing his first solo concert in Britain to raise funds and support to errect a memorial in London to the forgotten heroes of the World War II’s RAF Bomber Command.

Here he explains why he believes the monument is of national importance.

“These guys have been heroes for me since I was a young boy,” Gibb says. “I’m passionate about this campaign.”

“I really believe that these young men who laid down their lives, and those who survived and risked their lives should be recognised. They are the only division of the armed services which haven’t been and I think they should be honoured with a monument or statue in central London.”

During World War II the RAF bomber command played a crucial role in Britain’s defences, targeting the industrial towns and cities of Nazi Germany, destroying ammunition factories, oil refineries and infrastructure.

The scale and intensity of the offensive put Germany on the defensive, shook Nazi leadership and was key to Allied victory in 1945.

Gibb, who has been involved since December 2007, is keen to assert that this monument is to honour sacrifice - not glorify war.

“We sweep these things under the carpet in this country. These brave young men, who laid down their lives were actually saving all of Europe.”

“It was not a war we were waging. Our backs were against the wall, civilisation was in the balance, and this country was in danger of being occupied.”

“I don’t believe in war, but I also don’t believe in dictatorships, and Germany today enjoys a freedom and peace which they have never enjoyed throughout all of their history, and that is because of the courageous actions of the Bomber Command. They bought peace to all of Europe, not just for us - and at the expense of their own lives.”

Nearly all the RAF Command Bombers were young volunteers aged 18-22, from Britain, the commonwealth and refugees from Nazi occupied territory. In total 55,000 men died and 10,000 were captured. Those who made it onto the ground in one piece are considered the lucky ones because the g-force of a whirling plane hurtling to earth prevented many evacuating the cockpit.

Gibb also hopes the monument will set an example to young people today, who he says, have no respect for authority.

“The crime rate shows there is a distinct lack of respect for authority, for political high office, and law and order. This is displayed in every facet of society in the country and it needs to be addressed, because it can only get worse before it gets better. “

“We have guys fighting out in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we don’t honour them enough as it is for what they are doing."

"Respect, honour and sacrifice are some of the things that should be brought to bear for young people in today’s society, and I think a monument is the first step in showing that we are not afraid to want to sacrifice, and that respect, responsibility, accountability and honour are still very fashionable human virtues, and not things that should be assigned to the past.”

“As long as we are dismissing the fact the Bomber Command monument is important, it will continue to become unimportant. We have to set an example. I don’t believe authority should be out of control or dictatorial, but there should be law and order and a feeling of respect for authority and political high office. I think this has been lost over the past 30 years – and we have to get it back.”

Our lost patriotism is something else Gibb feels has eroded British society.

“The American Bomber Commands have been recognised in Washington for their part in the European bombing war, and they are very patriotic over there about what their guys did, and what their guys are doing now. “

“We have to get a feeling for this country back, the same way America has for it’s own country. We have to get respect back for the office of Prime Minister and high office, in the same way the Americans believe in the office of president.”

The Heritage Foundation, supported by the Bomber Command Association need £2 million for the memorial. So far £160,00 has been raised.

Robin Gibb plays at Windsor Race Course as the culmination of the Windsor Golden Egg Festival taking place over the weekend of July 12th - 13th, in aid of the Bomber Command campaign.

Web Links

Bob Baxter's Bomber Command Index - http://www.bomber-command.info/

RAF Bomber Command Website http://www.rafbombercommand.com/

By Rachael Hannan: 2008

Published on 50connect.co.uk
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"Their Glory Shall Not Be Blotted Out"

"...for your tomorrow, we gave our today." An interview at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is a unique body, responsible for the monumental and perpetual task of commemorating those who died in the two world wars.

Of the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two World Wars, 925,000 remains were recovered, and their graves are marked with a headstone in war cemeteries in 150 different countries. Where the remains were not found, the casualty name is commemorated on a memorial.

According to the Commission's Charter, their task of maintaining and conserving the War Cemeteries is eternal.

They are also responsible for providing information to the public about the location of ancestors' graves or memorials, and take on an educational capacity, organising talks, attending family history fairs and creating CD Roms for schools. Their latest, About A Boy, tells the story of a 16-year-old, World War 1 soldier and has been distributed to every secondary school in the UK.

We went to their headquarters in Maidenhead, Berkshire, to meet David Parker and Peter Frances, to learn more about this fascinating organisation.

"Worldwide we have 73,000 cemeteries. Around 2,500 of these are Commonwealth War Cemeteries which were constructed by the Commission after 1918," David explains.

"The bulk of the cemeteries we are responsible for are graves in other cemeteries, especially in the UK where there are over 12,000 cemeteries containing war graves, of which 600 are large plots."

"One of the nicest things about the Commission is that no one is distinguished by cause of death or creed. You could have won the Victorian Cross or been killed in a train accident, but you will still be treated in exactly same way," Peter says.

"Some people assume all the headstones are crosses, but they are specifically designed to commemorate any faith be it Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Jewish. If you go to a cemetery, the main commemorative strain is Christian and that is a cross, but there are those that are non-specific headstones."

"Although the people who founded the Commission came from a very privileged background they had incredible foresight and liberal attitudes to the nature of this. When you look back at the principles the Commission was founded on, today they seem like common sense but at the time this was absolutely brand new. No one had ever done anything like this before and certainly, no one had decided to commemorate all their fallen men in conflict, without military or civil rank, or distinction. So it really is an amazing organisation."

The formation of the Commission, and its founding principles was primarily the work of one man, Sir Fabian Ware who at the outbreak of World War 1 was deemed too old for active service, so he arrived in France in September 1914 to command a British Red Cross Unit.

Amidst the battlefields, he realised there was no organisation in place to record the final resting places of casualties and became concerned that graves would be lost forever. He and his unit took it upon themselves to register and care for all the graves they could find. Within a year, Ware's unit had been given official recognition by the War Office and was named the Graves Registration Commission.

Ware began to worry about the fate of the graves once the conflict was over, so with the support of the Prince of Wales, he submitted a request to the Imperial War Conference in 1917. It was unanimously approved and the Imperial War Graves Commission was established by Royal Charter on 21 May, 1917. The name changed to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in the 1960's.

After the First World War, debates raged about how the dead should be commemorated and whether they should be repatriated. On 4 May, 1920, the matter was finally settled. After a persuasive speech by Winston Churchill, it was decided that the Commission would build memorials which commemorated in perpetuity the sacrifice of the Empire's soldiers, and future generations would gaze at these in wonder.

Originally, three trial cemeteries were built and it was unanimously agreed that Forceville in France was the most successful. It was a walled cemetery with uniform headstones in a garden setting. There was a choice of headstones, depending on which faith the deceased originated, but each was uniform white, and the same size.

Since so many had died without a trace, numerous war memorials were built between 1923 - 1938. The largest of these, the Thiepval Memorial in France stands at over 45 metres high and carries the names of over 72,000 casualties from the Battle of the Somme.

When Ware first started his Unit, they received hundreds of requests from relatives for information or photographs of loved ones graves, and by 1917 had dispatched some 12,000 photographs to relatives. Sending photographs of the deceased's final resting place was one of the first public services offered by the Commission, and remains a key aspect of their work.

"The photo service we offer to the public is cemetery related, so we can supply the public with a picture of the final resting place of their ancestor," Peter explains.

"We have a digital and conventional photographic archive of the cemeteries stretching back to 1917, so there are black and white photographs of the very early battlefield cemeteries and of what we call GCU's, which are Grave Concentration Units. These are the men who actually had the task of going into the battlefields, trying to uncover and identify casualties, and then what we call concentrating them into the cemeteries. So if you knew your ancestor was a GCU, we probably have images of him at work."

"We hope to digitalise the photographs of the cemeteries and move to a digital archive, but this obviously takes a great deal of time and resources. Wherever possible though, we do try and show pictures of the cemeteries on the website."

"Actually, since we started publishing the photos on the website, we’ve had members of the public offering us their own photos as well. There’s a gentlemen in Orkney who has been going around photographing the isolated graves in his regional cemeteries and he's sent them to us so we can add them to the website. That’s a really nice interactive side."

"We also have photographs that illustrate the history of the Commission and it's work," David continues. "There is some historical ceremonial archive of the future King George V at the French cemeteries in 1922, with people like Haigh, Kipling and our founder Fabian Ware. We don't have photographs of various regiments, battles, aircraft and tanks. People should contact the Imperial War Grave Museum for that sort of information."

The hardest job facing the commission since it's conception and the task that still presents the greatest challenges is the maintenance of the cemeteries.

After the First World War, half a million headstones were required.

Besides finding enough high quality stone, engraving regimental badges and inscriptions was a time-consuming affair and at the time, there wasn't a machine designed for the purpose.

Horse and carts would go around the cemeteries, delivering masons who would inscribe the headstones by hand at the actual graves, until a Lancashire firm designed a machine for job.

Even so, masons and horticulturists would still travel to the cemetery, work for the day, then camp nearby. For reasons of economy, the Commission established its own nurseries, growing millions of plants to transform the cemeteries, and soften the seemingly endless rows of headstones.

"We are the world's largest horticultural organisation and today, most of our staff are horticulturalists. We measure flowers in tens of thousands not thousands, and headstones in kilometres not metres," Peter says.

"Increasing amounts of preservation and care are needed to keep the ageing cemeteries in the condition we and the public expect so the bulk of the work will always be the maintenance of the cemeteries."

"People forget that maintaining the cemeteries is ongoing and what the Commission needs to do now is pass the message on about what we do. We replace thousands of headstones every single year and engrave in situ hundreds of thousands more. It’s a mammoth task."

The Commission also has to deal with any newly discovered Commonwealth remains.

"Our main problem in what is usually described as battle-field archaeology is the discovery of remains. There are still around twenty-five new cases a year," David says.

"When remains are discovered they are reported to the local authorities who have to satisfy themselves that they are not dealing with a present day homicide. When they are happy they are dealing with Commonwealth remains, we are contacted and arrange for the remains to be recovered."

"Everything that is associated with them is noted down, such as map references and what exactly is found. War grave references are then passed to the member Government who make an investigation and determine if there is an identity for that soldier."

"Our responsibility begins at the end of that process, when the Government says, this is an unnamed man please bury him as such, or this is Private John Smith. We then bury them in the appropriate cemetery with a headstone, and when the funeral has actually taken place, that soldier is then in our perpetual care."

Today, the internet has revolutionised the Commission's services, and the speed at which it can deliver information to the public.

"The website has completely changed the way we work and emails have taken over. When we launched in 1998 we thought it would be popular but we were absolutely staggered by the response we got."

"The first week, you couldn’t even get a telephone line out of this building because we were inundated with people requesting the web address. In the first week it received 4.5 million hits, but today we find we have long visits of an average of 15 minutes," Peter states.

"Since we introduced the website, the number of letters we receive has decreased, but we've had an enormous increase in email enquiries, receiving in excess of 50,000 a year," David says. "People tend to email instead of writing a letter and as such, the nature of the enquiry is becoming more complex."

In 1995 the Commission put their records in the public domain and these can be accessed from their website, http://www.cwgc.org.

The database, known as the Debt of Honour Register, contains information about the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars, and the 23,000 cemeteries, memorials and other locations worldwide where they are commemorated.

The Commission's service is exemplary, and wherever information cannot be printed direct from their site, a hard copy can be requested and sent to your home address. Cemetery reports and cemetery plans can be printed from the website so anyone wishing to visit a war cemetery can easily find the grave of their ancestor.

It is also possible to print out a certificate of the deceased which contains the information held by the Commission about their death, where they are buried and a coloured photograph of that particular cemetery.

"We try and provide a service. The certificate which prints off the website is one thing people come back to us time and time again and say it's a nice touch because it's something they can give to their relative who might not be web literate."

A typical trace will include the casualty's Rank, Initials, Surname, Forenames if they are known, Unit, Regiment, Service Number if known, Age if known, Date of Death, Grave or Memorial reference and the name of the Cemetery or Memorial the deceased is commemorated.

"It a case of less is more," Peter says. "Try surname and initials first and see what it brings up. Then start to build up the other information and you will end up with a positive trace. Not everyone is comfortable with military and service records or even using a website, so we've kept it simple to suit everyone."

"One in twelve people who use the service may want more facilities than this, but the more complicated you make it, the other 11 struggle," David says. "If you try and search the database with masses of information, it won't work. It's best to use fewer search terms to return the correct set of records. Stick with the surname, then initial and gradually add details from there."

From a genealogical point of view, the information displayed on the Debt of Honour Register is all that the Commission holds for that particular casualty. They are not responsible for service records or regimental histories, so genealogists should turn to army records for this sort of information.

There are some differences in the records held for each of the two World Wars. For instance, there are no Cause of Death details for Second World War casualties, but there are for a limited number for First World War entries.

About one third of the Commission's records do not show details for next of kin because not all the "Final Verification" forms sent to the last known address of a casualty's next of kin were returned.

A further difference is the addition of Air Force and civilian casualties in the Second World War. When the Second World War broke out, the Commission had only just finished building the cemeteries and memorials from World War 1, but learning from the past, the Commission earmarked ground for cemeteries from the outset.

Ware also ensured the air force was commemorated in addition to any nurses or civilians who were killed as a direct result of combat.

"Some organisations, because they were viewed as organisations that had an increased risk of death because of the service they were in have war graves within the CWGC. Some strange organisations like the YMCA and Salvation Army have war grave status for example, because they were offering a service that was deemed to be of value to the troops."

"Often you find salvation army units running a little café for the soldiers fairly close to the frontline, or caring for the wounded, so any casualties they suffered have war grave status and are taken in and accredited."

"There are some very famous instances, particularly in the Second World War of nurses who were in the firing line, especially in the Far East such as the Australian nurses who were attacked by the Japanese forces at Singapore and all those records are included."

"There are two categories of nurses in a way; those that were definitely attached to the military forces and were in fact military nurses, and those who were civilian nurses. We don’t look after civilian nurse's graves but Ware did compile a roll of honour of civilians who died as a direct result of any action."

"His civilian list includes over 66,000 names and in 1956 was placed near St George's Chapel in Westminster Abbey, London where a new page is turned every day. So if you were a nurse and killed in the Blitz for instance, your name would be included in there, and your family would have been notified."

Although the Commission has been working for ninety years, the public are still unaware of the services they offer and the records they hold, which is why they attend family history shows and other public events where there may be an interest in their services.

"It makes the public more interested in what we are doing and the services we are providing. In fact, one of the nicest things happened to me when I was at Hampton Court flower show last year. We had the database there and this elderly lady approached the stand and asked if we could find something for her."

"We entered her information into the system and came up with the record of a young airman who was buried in one of the war cemeteries in Germany. When I told her, she started to cry. It took me aback, and she explained it was her brother's grave, and since he had been shot down over Germany, they just presumed he didn’t have a grave."

"This was the first time she’d ever found the information out. She gave me a big hug, and went and got her daughter and about 4 or 5 weeks later we received this note to say they had gone to the cemetery and it was most the wonderful experience. Experiences like this, make the work we do really worthwhile."

By Rachael Hannan: Interview 2004

Published on 50connect.co.uk
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Monday, 10 November 2008

Marc Vedo Interview

Marc Vedo is at the helm of his very own successful club brand, Koolwaters, and touring Canada later this month with Boy George. He's determined, ambitious and in it for the long haul.

You were under an apprenticeship with Northampton Town Football Club, but gave it up to pursue your DJing career. Any regrets?

No because I still play football all the time, all over Bristol and the South West. I play for two teams so I'm still heavily involved in football and sport. I do everything from tennis to long distance running, to going down the gym, sky diving and rock climbing. Anything active, I love it.

You're only 26 years old, but you've been djing since you were 18. Has it been a hard slog to get to where you are today?

Yes, very. As a DJ, I've struggled. I had a big success when I first started with Mixmag doing a review of a club night I was running at the time, and then they did a whole page spread which really launched my career. I was flying all over the country and I did all the Mixmag tours. I thought to myself at that point that life was plain sailing.

Then I did nothing for a couple of years. I didn't actively promote myself or help the people who were trying to push me, and I started to find that I was beginning to lose my bookings as a result. So from a DJ point of view, I got launched into this position and then lost it, then had to work my way back up again. But it's been a good test and definitely made me a more grounded as a DJ.

From a business point of view, I've gone bankrupt twice, I've made a couple of serious mistakes along the way with different companies I've had, but if I hadn't made those mistakes Koolwaters wouldn't be what it is today or doing as well as it is. We've just got so many avenues on the go at the moment, it's fantastic.

Dance music has been a hard industry to be in over the last couple of years.

It has, but I have to say Koolwaters is going really well. I've never been as successful as I am now, in the last year and a half. I've got a great quote which I always say, and I've always believed in. 'The kite rises against the wind,' and that's exactly what has happened. The company is making thousands of pounds and I'm travelling all over the place DJing, so I've no complaints.

I've been DJing eight years now. It's a seriously long time to be committed to one thing, but it's my passion, it's my love and it's what makes me who I am.

Many times I've thought about giving it up and moving on, but at the end of the day I love the fact that in two weeks I have to fly to Canada, and the following week I'm off to America and travelling around there DJing. The buzz of doing that and playing to so many different people is just great. That's why eight years doesn't seem that long. I'm planning on being a DJ until I'm about 45 so I'm in it for the long haul. So whatever happens, I'm definitely going to be around until I'm at least 45.

Tell us more about the setting up of Koolwaters? Why did you start it?

I started Koolwaters after I'd finished another night which was called As Oz. We had been going for two and half years and decided to go our separate ways, so I set up my own company. I started it with no money; I had to blag it the first night! I got it on credit and just opened the doors and hoped people turned up. I made enough money on the first night to pay everyone off and had enough money to spare for the next night, and it just grew from there.

It's been a bit of a rollercoaster with a lot of lessons, but I've been able to make a go of it and now I am in a position where I can comfortably look at the future and go, this is where I'm going and this is how it's going to happen. We've got albums coming out, a world tour, so many things.

What's been the biggest lesson you've learnt?

Complacency, without a shadow of a doubt. As soon as you become complacent you lose that spark. Once you lose that spark, you lose interest.

You've got a big deal going with Wella at the moment. How did it happen?

I'm getting free hair products for the rest of my life! (laughs). It's the first time the company has ever done anything like this. We've decided to have a CD made up to give away all over the country in Wella hairdressers, as a promotional tool to promote a new range of hair products called Head Games. It's a cool clubbable brand within the 18-30's market so they asked Koolwaters to do the album.

Originally we were going to buy in the tracks and I was going to mix them but eventually we decided that I would go into the studio and make them all myself, so that's what we did. I made the tracks, mixed them together and now I've got another two deals with them.

We actually produced 50,000 copies of the album so it's just a massive, massive thing. Most compilations never sell 50,000 so to think that many people have it, people in my core market with wacky hairstyles, is just fantastic.

It's the second biggest hair product company in the world and worth about £3 billion so to be asked by company of that size is very reassuring. It's just amazing and it's the sort of advertising you can't pay for. I'm so chuffed. There's also going to be another two of those CD's, so in another 6 months there will be 150,000 of my CD's out there!

How would you describe DJing style?

Very long mixing, I like to keep the records on for quite a long time and then chop into my mixes to add variety.

You've been compared to Sasha. That's quite an accolade.

Yeah. I really admire Sasha. As far as mixing standards go, if my mixing is anything below 85% I'll have had a crap night. I like to achieve 95-100% mixing ability every time I play.

You've played all over the world. Which continent / country is really happening at the moment?

Canada. It's awesome. Vancouver is a fantastic city; beautiful. The people there are really cool and the clubs are very trendy. And then Toronto has The Guvernment; you can't beat it. It's the biggest club in North America and holds 8000 people. Everyone in there is absolutely having it, it's fantastic, really good.

And Turkey, I have to mention Turkey. It's probably one of my favourite places. I've been playing in Istanbul for six years now so I've got a really big profile there and now when I go, I've usually got a big crowd so from that respect it's very enjoyable. I mainly play at festivals or big events in Istanbul but I'd say the first club to go to is the Repulic and then The Venue, which is a 4000 capacity club which is absolutely fantastic. It's right on the beach and really massive.

How do you escape?

Any of the sports I mentioned earlier, and chess. I love chess, the tactical side of it, breaking through the ranks of someone else's forces. I'm trying to find some more people to play against at the moment actually, 'cos none of my friends want to play with me anymore!

What makes you laugh?

Bottom! I saw it last night; it's hilarious. Total British slapstick. Also Naked Gun. That's just brilliant; so funny.

Name your three biggest influences?

World history, world music and people.

You've been voted one of the worlds top 50 most Eligible Bachelors by Company magazine, were the centrefold in The Sun's Top Ten Most Eligible Men and appeared on Channel 4's Gods Gift. How does that feel?

It was an experience! Definitely an experience, but it was shortly after being in Company magazine and on God's Gift that I got my residency at Slinky, so I was lucky. I got lots of fan mail through Company magazine which was really weird though.

Tell us something we don't know about Marc Vedo.

I was whacking golf balls out of my living room into the playing fields outside in the early hours of the morning a few weeks ago!

Best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?

Work against inertia; inertia is laziness.

Find out where Marc Vedo is playing at http://www.koolwaters.com.

Rachael Hannan: Interview 2004

Published on urbanplanet.co.uk
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Graham Gold Interview

He was instrumental in helping Kiss 100 gain it's radio licence, he discovered Matt Daring and started legendary club night Peach at Camden Palace. Meet the one and only, Graham Gold.

You've got three record labels and discovered Matt Daring. Tell us more.

I started Relative really to put out my own stuff and do something on my own. We've only put out about 8 records, the biggest one has to be Corduroy, Sweetest Dreams, which Ferry Corsten remixed because he loved it so much and Van Dyke is still playing. Actually Van Dyke played two of my records on the radio last week. The other one was AIMAR. They're two lads from the south coast and the track is called Confusion. It's the kind of thing played very early in the set so that's really good.

My new one, Night Dive, has already had huge support from John Fleming and Christopher Lawrence, so we're ticking along quite nicely.

You've been DJing since you were 15. How did you get into it?

My brother was a bit of an electronic wizard and in those days, dare I say it, you couldn't buy a mixer that had two turn tables, so he kind of built one. There used to be a reggae blues party so we just mixed up all this reggae. Back then, it was all based around a rhythm that would be popular for a couple or months, so we would just mix it all up, and that was it really.

My first gig was at the Byron hotel in Greenford. I won't tell you the first record I ever bought but I'll tell you the first record I ever swapped! It was Walk On By.

Can we be cheeky and ask how old you are?!

I'm the wrong side of 40. Oh ok, everyone knows how old I am anyway. I'm 50, but I don't feel it or look it so the wrong side of 40 is good. I'm young at heart and my girlfriend is only 24.

You've been at Kiss sometime now.

I did all the other pirates in London bar Kiss. They wouldn't have me because I could speak properly! (Laughs)

Actually I didn't like Kiss as a pirate and at that time, I was married to my second wife and she had this thing about when you get to a certain age you've got to conform. I'm much more radical now than I ever was which is bizarre really. Anyway, I was involved in the application of the licence and have been with them since day one, through all the changes.

Kiss is national on DAB and Freeview now. All new cars come with DAB and in three years time, consumer awareness of DAB is going to be much more prevalent. If you go abroad, internet listening is huge; outside the UK there's a massive audience. Since Kiss went on Freeview we've added 2 million listeners to the station so it's defintiely the future.

How has the industry changed for you?

For me, the UK is really hard and it has been very hard outside London and the South East. I think that's because all through the '70s and '80s I was really prolific as a DJ.

I used to present 'Sunshine' on Capital Radio, and DJ at the club, Gulliver, where people like Diana Ross, Mike Tyson and Mohammed Ali all used to come when they were in London. I worked there for nine years but then I made my worst career move ever and did the breakfast show on Kiss. If you do that, you have to play a certain type of music, and I've been stung with the cheese brush ever since.

I'm not like a Pete Tong. I'm not cool in my delivery because I enthuse about what I play because I get excited about it. I've never been perceived as the epitome of cool, but Slinky has always been good to me, Pacha too, but when I dropped trance in 2001, I got dropped by both of them. I was just bored with the trance that was coming out. It was just the same old, same old, but now it's got some of it's originality back and is brilliant again.

Everybody seems to forget that we're in this scene that's lasted thirteen years. Take the rave part away; forget '88-'89 and start from '90-'91 when this thing that we're in now started, the house music scene has lasted thirteen years. If you compare that to all the other musical genres like the New Romantics, or Punk, those scenes lasted two to three years. Rap, well that evolved into hip hop so that's different but house music has evolved into tech, breakbeat, dream house, hard house, progressive and all the other genres which is brilliant because its lasted, but at the same time, in the early days, you just played records because they were great records. Now you have to take a genre and stick to it, but I don't like that.

When you walk into a club, you want to hear something easy and then you want the music to build up as the night goes on, but none of the clubs are building now and that's the downfall. Now it's all just names playing their sets. Back in the day, I would leave my records out so the next DJ could see what I had played, so he wouldn't play the same thing for the crowd, and also so his set worked.

I always made an effort to get there early and stay as long as I could and that's where the DJ's get involved with the public, and get out there and dance. That's the way it has to be. If it wasn't for the punters having a good time, we'd be out of a job, and not going out and having a great time every weekend!

I never got into this for the glory or the money. No one saw the status DJ's would reach. I was working for 20 quid a night, driving from Harrow to Deptford every day, buying my own records and being left with 12 quid at the end of the night, but I've done it because I loved it and I was bloody good at it.

I am very clean now and I'd say I have rediscovered myself. I used to be regarded as a bit of a caner but that's because all the years I DJ'd before, I never touched drugs in my life. I was very anti it, but when you do, you get into it. Not now though. I was in Singapore last Wednesday for Slinky. I had 1 beer the whole night, did a three hour set and I was spot on! It was rammed midweek until closing time in the early hours.

I didn't do myself any favours when I used to get caned. I'm so passionate about my music and what I do, and because I've been around a while, I think that my ears are really tuned into what rocks. What is my good is another DJ's excellent, but I actually think I've reached my excellent stage. I don't mean this in blasé way, I just feel I've reached my peak.

Now I've mastered the DJM600 I'm really on form. I was in Brazil the other day and a guy wrote into DJMag, saying he'd seen Tiesto, Armin and Oakenfold but no one blew him away like I did, so I'm really on it right now.

I probably should have worked harder and got to know CD technology more a long time ago. I've worked hard all these years but I never got round to it or achieved what I wanted to achieve. You know, Jules says I probabaly could have made Radio 1. Instead I spent two hours a day, going to the gym when I probably should have been learning the DJM600 mixer. Actually I've learnt it and now and I'm very proficient on it so I'm looking forward to things picking back up again.

Peach finished at Camden in June. Have you any more nights planned?

I'm about to start a new night. We had to move out of Camden because the venue was sold so the new venue is in Brixton, at the Fridge so it's not bang in the middle of nowhere like Studio 33 was. I like Brixton too, it's got a similar sort of feel to Camden so hopefully the punters will like that too.

Like I was saying earlier about going back to '91, there weren't the genres and you just played great house music. Now you either go to a trance club, breaks club or a techno club or whatever, but this new night is not going to be about different genres. It's just going to be about bloody good house music. I'm going to call it Reach, not because its similar to Peach but I was thinking of reach up, reach out, you know. It's going to be held monthly, on the first Friday of the month so I hope to see you down there!

What's the best piece advice anyone has ever given you?

Be yourself.

You can find out where Graham Gold is playing at http://www.grahamgold.com/

Rachael Hannan: Interview 2004

Published on urbanplanet.co.uk
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DJ Yousef Interview

Radio 1 asked it's listeners to vote for their House Rules club of the year. They voted in their thousands and Club Circus in Liverpool took the number one spot. We caught up with DJ Yousef, it's resident and promoter to find out more.

Club Circus is only two years old yet it has won Radio 1's House Rules Club of The Year. Did you expect to win?

Its a bit of an odd one, really. We are such a small team that it seems really strange that bigger clubs with a whole office of staff didn't even get in the running. But maybe we should have won it from that point of view because we are such a small group of people and everyone puts so much effort into it. There's blood sweat and tears to get it together, and it is such a great party!

What do you think has made it so successful?

Musically, we pay such a lot of attention to the people on the dance floor and we really value their opinions. It's not a case of, if someone wants to see a DJ, we will get them - but at the same time, I made a hit list just before we opened Circus two years ago, and every single DJ on that list we've booked, which is brilliant.

Last year we ran a DJ competition, and the girl who won is doing really well with gigs in Liverpool and Manchester so that's great to watch too.

Tell us more about the Ian Brown remix, 'Time Is My Everything' which Pete Tong keeps talking about.

Pete Tong has played it 4 weeks in a row now as his 'Essential Tune' on Radio 1. At the moment, it might come off, but it might not. I've got a copy, Pete Tong's got a copy and that's about the size of it!

It's a track that I personally really, really like and I just got hold of the original, took it into the studio and came back four hours later with that. So it's just crazy that one of the tracks that took me the least amount of time, is doing really well, but that's the way it goes.

I'm glad people are appreciating it, especially Pete. To me it's good music, good fun and if it ever comes out great, but if it doesn't I'm still really chuffed. I'm expecting feedback from Ian Brown at the end of the week actually, so I am a bit nervous about that. For any record to get played as Pete Tong's Essential New Tune is a really a big deal, so hopefully Ian will like it, but he's been in New York, so who knows?

You are a bit of a Genesis fan. Which other bands do you like?

I've loved Genesis since I was about 8 or 9. Actually, I did a mini-mix for one of Annie Macs' shows on Radio 1 on a Thursday night. You have five minutes to squeeze in as many records as you can, so I just put in records like Prince, Tears for Fears, Lenny Kravitz, Public Enemy, Neneh Cherry; a real random mix and I didn't actually put any house music in there at all. I just like good music that says something generally. It doesn't have to be house music.

What inspired you to be a DJ?

I was just always into music. I didn't even realise until recently how much I was into music as a kid. I was always into things like break dancing, hip hop culture, the big beat box on my shoulder. It went from hip hop to acid house, to house music to the sugar club scene. I've just followed it every step of the way.

I really got into dance music after I saw the Prodigy at Shelley's in Stoke when I was 15 or 16. It was amazing and I remember just standing there, with Keith Flint just two feet away from me. It was mind blowing.

I'd never been to an all night club, and I was in strange city, listening to the Prodigy, and the funny thing is, I didn't come home until Tuesday!

Have you any more shows planned at Radio1?

No, I think my time on Radio 1 has finished. We both concluded that I wasn't into what they were about, and they weren't into what I was about. There's no animosity or anything, it's just that it takes a lot of time to do a show, and for someone who's pretty inexperienced, I had to put an extra day in to make sure it was all correct, when I could be working in the studio, making music.

Someone said to me once, you can be on the radio for 2 hours and it's gone, but you can make music and be on the radio for ever. So I think I'll stick to making music!

What's the best thing about living in Liverpool?

Probably the beach. I live less than thirty seconds away from the beach and it's just really nice. The city and the people are very friendly too, but the main reason I love it so much is that it's home, and I really appreciate it.

Where would you like to DJ that you haven't?

Id love to DJ in Cuba, or I think anywhere that is a good party. I love DJing in the sunshine, but on the opposite end of the scale, I'd like to DJ in outer space! That'd be amazing; but I'm quite happy DJing anywhere that's sunny with a great group of people, that's into the sort of music that I like.

Music downloads - friend or foe?

Friend. With music downloads people can download your music all over the world. It's cool in my books but then it's also putting some people out of a job. But you've got to reposition yourself and use it as a different tool, as opposed to working against it.

How do you chill out?

Generally, walking down the beach, doing nothing and watching those stupid property programmes. I'm hooked, so hooked it's ridiculous! In fact, even to the point where I've developed a crush on one of the hosts - Sarah Beaney, so I think I have to stop watching them!

Rachael Hannan: Interview 2005

Published on urbanplanet.co.uk
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Tall Paul Interview

He's one of the biggest DJ's in the industry, and we aren't referring to his height, although at 6'6 he could probably take that accolade too. House veteran Tall Paul tells us about the early days and his brilliant new album, Globetrotting Volume 1: Lima - Peru.

You started DJing in 1987. How different was it starting out in the early days?

When I started out in '87 I thought id missed the boat 'cos you had all these other DJ's playing like Grooverider and Carl Cox, you know, people who I was going out to see.

I was just pretty much making up tapes and going out to the clubs that I wanted to be involved in, but it was like a closed shop. Eventually I got a few breaks, then some records and it sort of went on from there, but I wouldn't like to be doing that now, going through the right sort of process of trying to get the exposure.

The markets pretty flooded; I don't think anyone thought the industry would explode like it did. At the time, we knew it was extremely good fun and everyone was loving it. You would sort of do the 9 to 5, Monday to Friday and then Friday night, the weekend had arrived and it just went crazy!

You made your name as resident on pirate radio station, Touchdown. Tell us about those Touchdown days.

Touchdown was around the same time as the Trade scene. It was just a group of friends who weren't hearing what we wanted on the radio. The big underground house scene was going on so a couple of mates who lived in tower blocks were willing to put certain equipment in their bedroom, unknowing to their parents. It was great fun, planting equipment up the top of tower blocks in the middle of the night. It was just very lads-own and a great laugh.

Besides making your name at Touchdown, you also got your first break playing at Turnmills. How did the scene there influence your style?

It definitely influenced my style. I went to Trade, saw the atmosphere, the roar of the crowd and how different the music was, even to the point where I went out and made records to suit that environment, and they happened to be the ones that really did well for me like Rok Da House, Camisra's Let Me Show You, and all the remixes which have sort of become old Trade classics if you will.

Tell us about that particular gig when you really thought, yes, I've made it!

Hmmmmm. I had a pretty overwhelming moment at the Gatecrasher 2000 gig. There must have been over 30,000 people in one tent just before midnight. I was playing some records and everyone was singing back and it was really special. It wont be happening too often!

How has the industry changed since you started?

The record side of it has certainly changed. Before, an aspiring DJ could make some records, put them out on their own label which always helps with your profile, and at the same time makes you a bit of money.

Now, it's very difficult to sustain a good level of business when it comes to the records. You have to be very financially aware 'cos it can send you under quite quickly with the market the way it is at the moment. It's very commercial and a lot of these independent labels set themselves up in big office,s with lots of staff, and people just aren't buying the dance as much as they are used to.

They are getting it from somewhere, but it's getting to that source, you know, with the net and stuff. The nets been a huge change as far as the industry goes.

For better or worse?

I think in the short term worse, but in the long term for the better, but only as long as it can be governed, so that the artist who dedicates their Monday to Friday making music can afford to live.

Are there any up and coming DJ's you are keeping your eye on at the moment?

Well I played with this guy a couple of years ago, Eric Prydz. He' got a massive track out at the moment, Calling, and on the DJ front he's going to do really well.

Which UK Club is happening at the moment?

Well I've been pretty spoilt really. I only really play at Turnmills and then head up north for Cream.

What about outside the UK?

I'd say America in general really, that whole continent. I really enjoy going out there and I've spent a lot of time there. Its just juggling the time that I have here. For me I'd say it's West Coast with a sprinkling of East Coast.

Tell us more about your new album, Globetrotting: Lima - Peru.

The album consists of the tracks that really served me well for that whole trip. I was out there for three weeks and it was hard work as far as days off go, and this set was just going down globally. It didn't matter where, there was no real change, it was these records that were just doing it.

People were really enjoying the tunes and wanted to know what they were and where they could get them so we thought, let's get the right deal so it's not going to cost a fortune to buy in the shops, and lets make it a really good package.

All the tracks that we've got on there, the artist understood what we were trying to do, the contracts weren't much of a problem and it all went very smoothly.

Is there a particularly memorable moment from that trip?

Yeah, that night at Peru was fantastic. It was a nightmare flight, it was delayed and then it was cancelled and by the time I got there I had had enough of the whole thing, but a couple of minutes into the set and that was it.

Word had got round the club about the nightmare I had getting there, and you know, it was like; was I going to be there, wasn't I going to be there. It was one of those gigs, but when I turned up they made me feel so welcome, people jumping around, giving it their all. It was probably one of the best moments of this year.

What is the most prized record in your collection?

I would say one of the first songs I got pressed up. It was a little white label that I went out and made a record of, after I had learnt from all the mistakes I had made the first time, and it actually worked in the clubs. It was called Love Rush and it became a little Trade hit on white label and that's how I met the guys at Defected. It was the first record I've ever pressed up.

What's the best piece of advice anyone has every given you?

What goes around comes around.

You can find out where Tall Paul is playing at his website http://www.djtallpaul.com/

Rachael Hannan: Interview 2004

Published on urbanplanet.co.uk
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