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Paradise in these ears, right here

Frankie Knuckles
Frankie Knuckles
January 18, 1955 – March 31, 2014

Frankie Knuckles – Essential Mix BBC Radio 1 APR 04 2015

Life today…

It’s all make believe Dorothy, the Tin Man ran away the wizard of OZ long ago
The long late night wharf
… and the Scarecrow & Toto, they always had this thing going on behind the scenes with the Wicked Witch of the West.
I never said anything at the time, no harm,
but as to the rest, they were the harmed & the dangerous, and the last I saw them it was late at night, dark, the wharf was not lit, I heard lots of splash, there were lots of sharks about and I never heard from the herd again!

Lucky me, I gave up drinking in June 2010 and Meg & I are doing fine :) :)


It’s a Good Day

800 Friends on Facebook todaySo, years back I joined Facebook. Then one day Eddie called me up and said I’ll race you to 5000 friends, ha, easy for him, everyone knew him, anyways we did. Took him 3 days and he was full at 5000. I made it in 2 weeks to 200+, then sometime later 1801 and as to whom they all were, I had no idea. Then one night I went and saw the movie, Social Network.
My life changed & it made me think… later I set to work on deleting all 1801 of those friends, one by one, almost me too, but I spared myself, after all, it was back then All About Me, so I kept me! Then I attempted to gain a handle on Facebook. Now years later, I’m not a pro yet, but I get around & slowly, one by one, again, I grew with my friends, this time knowing who you are, as much as you can know about anyone these days, and I admit graciously, I like you all and now
today, 1 June 2015, I reached my 800th Facebook friend… I Like it, and this time I know at least a little, or a lot, about each & everyone of you, and I’m proud to say I like you all as friends!

So, for DaMeggie Oe & I, it’s a good day! :) :)

They’re baaaaaaaack, Team Vestas Wind is now back in the water

:) Welcome back Team Vestas Wind :)
The Volvo Ocean Race is now back with all 7 Teams!
Team Vestas Wind re-enters the sea in Lisbon
Now Chris Nicholson, let’s keep enough water under you this time, there’s a race to be sailed,
it’s time to get things back up to speed again… and now there’s all 7 Teams again, yayyy, the Volvo Ocean Race 2014 – 2015 :) Sail on!

Pulled into Kerikeri last night, bit of a late night flight, in a very cool new Mini & Leg 7 is about to arrive in Lisbon!

Keri Keri… what a delight, far north of New Zealand,
Meg & I took a late night flight, in the cockpit of a brand new Mini,
with its very cool pilot, up to there… never to be forgotten! Meanwhile…
Lisbon bound, the Volvo Ocean Race May 2015The Volvo Ocean Race, Leg 7, Newport to Lisbon, just a mere 300nm crossing the Atlantic still to go & so far…
Team Brunel is in 1st place,
2nd MAPFRE, & 3rd the Dongfeng Race Team. Yaaay! Very exciting, this is best of the Volvo/Whitbread Round The World
yacht racing ever!!… yada yada yada

Oh, I also got an $80 infringement ticket in Kerikeri… my phone rang, I pulled over to answer it, a call from the friend I drove around looking for, for 40 minutes, they weren’t where they said they would be in 10 minutes, I was there in 9, they were no where to be found, yes, alcohol was involved, I though have not had a sip of booze for almost 6 years, still I copped a fine for $80, the ticket read: ‘Driving with mobile phone while driving’… hmm, I don’t leave home without one but when I talk in the car, I’m always on hands free, but I was not in my car this time… food for future thought, I was in the car of the person who I was looking for, for 40 minutes :) & I really did not want to miss that call, so I pulled over, hit receive, the phone lit up, same time a police cruiser drove by… $80 fine, but all in all, still a very cool night,
everyone was found and we keep on keeping on :) :)

Oh, & Yes, the Volvo Ocean Race…

92nm from Lisbon, after crossing the Atlantic from NewportWanna watch the race LIVE, as it comes in to Lisbon?
LIVE HERE when it happens!!
Yowza yowza yowza!!!


Tantra and the Hills of Coatesville, out back of Katmandu

Someone's shot of the Blood MoonA wee ways back, 5 April 2015, there was an awesome full moon with a total Lunar Eclipse & it marked Daylight Savings for us here in NZ…  all neat & tidy and folded into one night, I got to watch this unfold in an almost cloudless night from the hills of Coatesville. This is what ended up on Facebook that night…

The Hills of Coatesville, and the night of tonight, reminds me of early disco tantra, 1979,
The Hills of Katmandu, Tantra… dj remixers played the dance floors wild with that tune back then. Play it while reading and maybe you’ll get a feel of the night and the nights of back then… a
nd here’s thinking of you Robyn Durling, the best technical mixing dj I ever heard. I met Robyn playing at Vancouver’s iconic Gandy Dancer, a pretty wild club for its time, and I’ve seen more than a few. This full moon’s for YOU Robyn!

Woo hoo time…
Besides the iconic Gandy Dancer, back in the early 80’s, in Vancouver, a wild mixed gay bar, every straight in town was cuing up outside trying to get into the place because of the music, the dj’s and the dancers in there! It was wild and if you were straight, you cued up outside and hoped you got in. Months before I was in Ibiza, other side of the world, real wild there, and Copenhagen, Amsterdam, St Tropez, these were the places the dj’s were turning dance floors into frenzies, it was also the time of Studio 54 & I was hearing & seeing the first of these mixing DJ’s… & there in Vancouver too. Tantra was bringing the hills alive & dance just got a whole lot wilder!

Before then… way back in 1966 in Vancouver, where I used to live, Vancouver already was one of the music meccas, we had Danny Baceda’s Oil Can Harry’s with its R&B, lounge music and jazz club in the city and I used to go to his house on the hill in West Vancouver, I lived up & out there too and I took my new friend from Seattle up with me, he liked the company we mixed in, Bumpy Blackwell, RIP dear fiend, he was Little Richard & The Temptations manager…  oh we spent some times together including seeing Diana Ross’s last ever show with the Supremes at Ken Stauffer’s ‘The Cave’ supper club. Ken & my family were close knit friends, I was still in my teens and already I was riding the wave. Stuffed somewhere in the middle of all that, Danny Baceda also had the Pink Pussycat, at the beginning of Gastown, downstairs, it was coined as Vancouver’s first Disco… the tables were always lined with white stuff and people sniffing… a sign of the times & people were dancing to new sounds & all were smiling!
Here’s a link to some of those mentioned in Vancouver… I miss those good times
Best Vancouver Bars and Clubs: A History

More on Vancouver’s earlier scene, Oreste’s Sure was a restaurant with belly dancers and it’s written ‘where forbidden things happened’ and they did, it’s forbidden to tell you about them, so you can imagine, we all lived them & everyone was there. From the man that brought us Oreste’s Sure, he also brought us his Retinal Circus, from years before, it turned many on with its happy smoke and sounds, similar to the sounds & the times of San Fancisco, with The Collectors and many others, but Disco was better, it got us all on our feet, instead of being dazed & confused :) … R&B & Motown did it for me, far more than all the bands coming in from the UK, which just so happened, Vancouver was their gateway into North America… Hugh Pickett was a man I luckily met in the 60’s, a Canadian impresario who seems brought all of the UK to us to hear, and he gave me tickets to any show I ever wanted to see… we all ran in the same gang back then and music was the flavor! Between Vancouver and southern California, I got to see, up close & personal, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Grateful Dead, Canned Heat, Moody Blues, The Small Faces… with Rod Stewart as they were billed at the time, Alice Cooper whipping chickens on the stage in the middle of the night at a rock festival, I didn’t like that, I did enjoy though Jefferson Airplane, Janice Joplin, Big Brother & the Holding Company, the Moody Blues, Deep Purple, Taj Mahal, and well, actually, if they were in Vancouver or anywhere on the west coast of north America and they were good, I saw them, from the magnificent rock festivals we had, to the bars and nightclubs, I was always back stage, or front row center… just the people I knew, however, way back in about 1964 I saw the Ike & Tina Turner Review at a high school in East Vancouver, mmm good that one. I was immediately hooked on horned reviews, bands with lots of brass, loved the horns and then we had dance nights at the Vancouver Forum where there would be around 1000 all coming to dance, pre Rock Band era for Vancouver, and it was there one night that I met Nona Hendryx (who later became one-third of the trio Labelle, with the hit “Lady Marmalade) and at age 14 (me… she was older )… she convinced me we should hitch hike down to Portland, Oregon to see a cousin of hers play guitar. I said to her I am only 14 years old & I said I have a family I have to go home to. She said no problem, we’ll hitch to your home, tell your parents and off we’ll go! Ha, well we did. Must say it didn’t go over well with my Mom but Dad slipped me $100 and out went our thumbs, 2 rides later we’d made it all the way from Vancouver, thru the border, into the USA and to Portland and at Portland’s Lighthouse nightclub, I saw for my first time… Jimi Hendrix and could he play guitar! Amazing, 1964! Two years later, at 16, I had a drivers license and thought nothing to make the 18 hour drive to San Francisco, or the additional 8 hours to LA… it was the world of music, and then along came Bumpy Blackwell and we took to each other like 2 peas in a pod, Little Richard, Temptations & Motown… I was in music heaven, I toured with him several times and usually I was the only white kid around… I was immersed into a world of music and most of his people, at their private homes, bars and nightclubs, they were predominantly colored people, which meant little to me, but every time we’d go somewhere new, and I’d walk in with him, the room would go dead silent… until Bumpy said “this is Doug and he’s my friend”. Now that was something I’d never seen growing up in Vancouver.

I must pop out to see this eclipse again, (it was a stunning moon that night)… seems it got me into true confession time then at 12:49AM

Sometime back, before then, I had to learn to dance somewhere. I already had a flair for rhythm, but somehow I missed the 1, 2, 3, 4… no one ever told me, so I was sent to the Commodore Ballroom, in 1960, ’61, maybe ’62… to learn to waltz, for the Christmas Ball we used to go to each year. Just looked it up, Billboard apparently named it one of North America’s 10 most influential clubs. I suppose I had to begin somewhere.  
Before then it was Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, we used to call them… ‘the marijuana brass’ after he visited us in Hawaii one  Christmas… another story another time… maybe :)

My 1st ever record bought was Haley Mills, the song Let’s get together.
My next record bought was The Doors, in 1965 and later that year I saw them at The Cheetah Club, on the Santa Monica Pier, fascinating chap, totally out of his mind and what he did on stage, I am not going to write it in here.

I think I attended so many rock festivals, it probably started me off in the direction of going partially deaf, which I am. I noticed way back I really couldn’t hear the words but oh I could feel the rhythm, so really it was only a matter of time for House music to slip in alongside. Funny enough, it took until 1978 for someone, my friend Robyn, the dj, to finally explain the simplicity of 1, 2, 3, 4 to me… and then I knew what a bar was, and 4 bars… 16 beats and 64 and finally I understood how it all came together. Meanwhile, the rock festivals did their best in turning me deaf, such big speakers and mounted high on top of each other. Speakers were never as fine tuned as they are now!
Rock probably popped my ears and well, R&B tuned my Soul :) 1, 2, 3, 4

Anyways, it’s a Life and here’s to all you in San Francisco, LA, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, and the rest of the world where music fell on to my lap…
… you can take some of the blame for this too!

Great moon out there tonight, hope you saw it, and good night!
And with that, that night, it was a wrap!
I love sharing music stories with you and I hope you like The Hills of Katmandu, 1979!

Now for a break from all this sailing, well, a bit, but 1st, how about a bit of the sublime, a smile & a pic of our north western sky, from here in NZ… then back to the Volvo Ocean Race into Newport

North western sky May 2015 My new smile... My friend Mal called me up, from Mal, Practice & Co, we had a good yarn, about some times from long ago & he mentioned he spotted a pic of mine on Facebook, with my new smile. He’s known me a long while, asked if I was alright. I said sure, I just wanted people to know what it feels like from the insides out, and yes, I had a few teeth added to the smile. You don’t think I went too far, do you? Of course not, nothing has changed, however Mal did mention, it might be best to quit while I am still a-head. I’m still thinking about that.

Anyways, it must be time to get back to sailing…
Leg 6, Itajaí to Newport, Rhode Island, USA, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet are almost there… it’s time to turn the heads back to sailing!!

6 May 2015, 10:00PM NZ time, Dongfeng Race Team are in the lead and with 97% of Leg 6 now under their belt, things are looking pretty good for arrival into Newport, but it’s going to be close. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing are hot on their heels, a mere 6nm’s back, and for Dongfeng, there’s only 157nm’s to go, so we’ll see.

At last report, 10PM NZ time, both Dongfeng Race Team & Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, both were averaging approx 20nm’s/hr, so could mean the first-into Newport will happen tomorrow morning around 6AM NZ time.
UPDATE… the leaders still have about 2 hours to go, NZ… look closer to 11AM
You can watch it LIVE HERE as it happens, on the Volvo Ocean Race website.
In the case of those 2 teams… it’s best neither one quits while they are ahead!
Now for the rest of us, keep smiling, try 11AM NZ!! See you then :)

The Volvo Ocean Race, Itajaí to Newport, the In-Port Race & Start of Leg 6, are set to begin this weekend!

Leg 6, Itajaí to Newport, Rhode Island, USA

Get ready, Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race is about to begin…
But 1st, the Itajaí In-Port Race
Itajaí time, 18 April 2PM, Saturday
NZ Time, 19 April 5AM, Sunday… set the alarm
Update… Team Brunel won the In-Port Race, congratulations!

Then the Start Time of Leg 6,
Itajaí to Newport…
Itajaí time, 19 April 2PM, Sunday
NZ time, 20 April 5AM, Monday and this time they are off to Newport, Rhode Island, USA, 5010nm away. Newport is a home to one whole lot of money & some of the US’s most expensive properties, flanked in history & the Finish Line for Leg 6, all coming at you Live this weekend on the Volvo Ocean Race website. Don’t even ask me what that is in UTC time! :)
… it’s this weekend! Well ok, UTC Time… it’s April 19, 2015 – 17:00 :) so they say, wind or no wind, that’s when they begin!

The Volvo Ocean Race, Rounding of the Horn 2015 & the real deal!

Check out the Ice Limits...The build up to the Horn has been pretty intense, with all racing for bragging rights to be the 1st VOR Team to Round the Horn in 2015.
With the Ice Limits reaching closer to the Horn itself, it’s made for some extremely nail biting moments and some pretty dramatic thrills & spills, and Chinese Gybes, and in the case of
Dongfeng Race Team… they lost the top off their mast! On their last report they were recorded as Suspended Racing, and heading for Argentina, instead of the Horn! Care to tango anyone?

This has been a drastically dangerous crossing, from Auckland to Brazil, first riding out of the NZ waters on the tail of Cyclone Pam, a Cat 5 cyclone, then the following winds, squalls, huge waves, rain, hail, snow, who cannot ask themselves… what’s next?
Ya? Well here’s a Flash… Rounding of the Horn 2015 & the real deal
… photographer yet to be verified, but it’s on Team Brunel…
Best crack out the sunscreen, if you don't want a burn... down there!
Ah ha, dusting
up on your tans eh,
in anticipation of Itajaí :) :)
Well you better get ready, because here’s Itajaí’s weather for today… 31°/20° with a little bit of sun, a little bit of cloud, winds of 21-6km/h, best crack out the sunscreen, if you don’t want a burn… down there!

So, Itajaí’s next. ETA for the 1st boats across the line… 5-6th April, for those left sailing!

7 Teams began the Volvo Ocean Race back in Alicante, Spain, October 11, 2014.
Team Vestas Wind found themselves on a reef, 29 November 2014, in the middle of the Indian Ocean, without enough water underneath to keep them afloat, they say they ran aground, call it what you like, it left 6 Teams racing, then on 30 March 2015, with only 240 nautical miles to go to the Horn, in the final hours of the night, Dongfeng Race Team lost the top of their mast, bugger, crash, boom, bam, bah… the rest is yet to come!

For the latest, here’s the Volvo Ocean Race

The Volvo Ocean Race, Leg 5, Auckland to Itajaí is underway

The Volvo Ocean Race

The Volvo Ocean Race Leg 5, Auckland to Itajaí

Leg 5, of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015, due to begin 15 March, began on Wednesday 18 March 2015, after a 67 hour delay, due to Cyclone Pam, a Category 5 storm, bearing down on NZ from the north, and the start of Leg 5. Finally, at 9am local NZ time, the remaining Fleet of 6 boats, sailed out of the Auckland Harbour, headed towards the southern ocean, and to let the truth be laid straight, no one knows what to expect anymore, as year after year our ever changing weather systems are intensifying,
so what does lie ahead in this Southern Ocean?
Here’s a taste of what the Fleet are going through? Like to see? Of course you do…
Inside Track: Leg 5 # 2 | Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15

Leg 5 is a 7,000 nautical mile journey from New Zealand to Brazil that will take the boats to the furthest point from land on earth. Maybe you’d care to try something like that?

Dongfeng Race Team Skipper, Charles Caudrelier, said “I’m heading into the Southern Ocean with two sailors onboard that have never sailed in more than 30 knots of wind, of course it’s added pressure… the last time Abu Dhabi were in trouble in the Southern Ocean, the nearest ship was 1000 miles away. It’s a reality check – but I reckon with the one design we will be closer.”

Navigator Pascal Bidégorry on the Southern Ocean… “Pffff, last time? Last time was 14 years ago and I dismasted. Then we stayed at sea for 21 days without a mast before we reached safety. That was not fun. The Southern Ocean it breaks boats… ”

Charles Caudrelier… “I’m not sure they know what lies ahead and maybe it’s better that way? I trust them and they know the boat…”.

I for one, every night, I look out into darkness of the southern skies, from here in New Zealand, and I wonder what it must be like for those magnificent sailors. Trust me, I have no intention to personally ever find out, but it makes me wonder about them. I find it hard to fathom being on watch at 1am in the morning, sailing fast through the cold waves of the Southern Ocean, a cloud covered sky, dark, or maybe the luxury of a clear sky at night with stars and the moon, yet sailing through the darkness of the night, and fast… how do they do it?

The Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015…
7 Teams began, in Alicante, Spain, six are still sailing!
They are…
Team SCA

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
Dongfeng Race Team
Team Brunel
Team Alvimedica
& Team Vestas Wind,
who found themselves on a reef at Cargados Carajos Shoals in the middle of the Indian Ocean during the stage from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi on November 29, 2014. The crew was forced to abandon the boat. They are attempting a re-build and will try to re-join the Fleet somewhere along the way.
So, that leaves 6 still sailing.

And now onto the Southern Ocean, and the rounding of Cape Horn… hopefully a safe journey for all. The facts remain, it is not safe, but rounding the Horn is something these sailors are driven to achieve & they are some of the best sailors and racers our planet has ever seen, and known and yes, some are very new to this sport, but keen they are, and on they sail!

On the Departure/Start of Leg 5, I almost found myself without a ride on any media boat, to capture photos from my POV. To explain, on the pre planned Departure date of Sunday, there were plenty of Media Boats available, but now 3 days later, due to the delay of waiting out Cyclone Pam, all the Media boats were no where to be found, well a few, but what I found unfolding was most extraordinary… each & every seat on the Team & Media RIBS were all taken by others ahead of me, right down to the very last seat on a Media RIB, by a person I had met just 2 weeks before the Arrivals into Auckland of the Fleet… he was standing outside of the newly erected fence at the Media Centre, with a camera hanging off his shoulder strap, and we began talking. He was set to leave this country before the Arrivals, yet I suppose he liked the sounds of what I was to tell him about the Volvo Ocean Race, because he stayed & he managed to receive his VOR accreditation as a photographer, and he had the last seat, on the wharf that day! Interesting position I found myself in, so, what to do? I didn’t come to see the RIBS that day, I came to photograph the Departure of Leg 5! So, I turned my keen eyes behind me, scanning carefully, & I spotted my ride… I saw a RIB coming out from under the bridge, at the Viaduct, with only 2 people on it. I grabbed my gear, headed out to the end of one of the other pontoons, waved and stuck out my thumb… I’ve never hitch hiked on the sea!
~On that note, I used to be a pilot, years back, and departing a southern California airstrip, without a control tower, in a Merlin III that I used to fly, my co-pilot & I spotted a girl who suddenly came running out, to the edge of the runway, & she stuck her thumb out… hitchhiking!
Why not, we laughed, pulled the throttles back, stopped and she got her ride that day! :)
Anyways, back to Auckland… here I am, on the end of the pontoon, waving & hitchhiking, and they spotted me! Trust me, you should try it, you never know who you’ll meet next in this lifetime! :) :)
I must have looked like I sort of fit in, but somehow left out. They asked me if I needed a lift, I said I sure do, I said I needed to get out to photograph and all the media RIBS had left, they said hop on! What a gift… it was Grant Dalton, Emirates Team NZ Manager & Kevin Shoebridge, Chief Operating Officer of Emirates Team NZ, and they are 7 & 5 x ‘Round The World’ veterans. I was in good hands & it was the ride of this Event for me! Thank you guys!

And with that, thank you Volvo Ocean Race Media, all you magnificent Teams, and those of you I met during this Auckland Stop Over, & those of you I met whom have sailed some of the Round The World races, amazing the lot of you. Thank you!

Now enough of me, I’m back with my best friend & partner Meg, who is happy the race has left town, so we can get back to wagging our tails, on all the trails we find before us.

Best way to follow this race, if you are not sailing it:
The Volvo Ocean Race 2014 – 2105
and if you’re on Facebook, we are HERE, with lots of updates & tales of the sea and all we see too!

Itajaí is next, best wishes to you all throughout this passage!