Techno and UFOs: A Salford match made in heaven

A techno label, Ourtime Music, is making a disturbance in the space time continuum and somehow the sighting of a UFO over Strangeways prison a couple of years ago has got something to do with it.

Ourtime was born out of a collection of deep techno specialists in Salford and Manchester that have been collaborating since way back in 2002, and if you’re a regular in the streets and clubs of Manchester and Salford you may well know some of the protagonists.

So far the label has put out four tracks by d.ball, aka Dave Ball, aka Our Dave, that offer warm, lickety split rhythms and crystalline loopings that are crisper than lightly steamed broccoli. The stripped bare drum and keys lock tight in a soulful burn-through that your feet will find irresistible.

So, where do the UFOs come into it. A strong rumour has it that one of the founding members of the Ourtime gang was sitting quietly at home one Sunday afternoon when he spotted through his flat window what he took to be a UFO hovering over HMP Manchester. Leaping into action our intrepid hero whipped out his phone, and the rest is history so to speak. Well, it would have been if a local paper hadn’t spotted the video on Facebook and gone large on the story. And they say journalism is a busted flush.

Suspicions of an extraterrestrial involvement only increase with the news that d.ball is doing a live set on Alien Wax’s Reform Radio show tonight. Clearly we have moved beyond the realms of conspiracy and into the world of fact. Ourtime Music is mind-humping us with techno and we want more.


Ourtime Music

Ourtime Music – soundcloud


Turf: sunshine of the slightly tarnished mind

Turf are playing at Fallow Cafe in Fallowfield on Friday 15th July with Freakout Honey. Tickets £3

If cities can be said to have a sound, a particular mood, or a unifying culture then Manchester has a reputation for a gritty post-industrial determination to fly in the face of anyone who’s got one, and Turf join that raucous assemblage whether they like it or not.

Turf take musical cues from the West Coast post-hardcore underground of the mid-80’s in a way that brings to mind the Melvins and Minutmen mixed with the disjointed pop sensibilities of the more recent Mansion.

The band, fronted by brothers Danny and Jake Parker, inject a sunny taste of the ‘land of the lotus eaters’ into a live performance that is both intoxicating and cheerfully disconcerting . Turf’s cover of Prince’s Kiss explodes from the stage with a driven and maniacal gut-churning passion that grabs at possession.

Turf’s rhythmic engine room is marshaled by Adam Farr on drums and bass player Pete Crowder giving the band a steely pace and urgent demand that has a touch of Black Flag and a taste of the Dead Kennedys’ strident mania.

Turf released their debut EP Shark Week last summer garnering press and radio notice and have since been regulars on stages across Manchester with slots at Dot to Dot and Chorlton Arts festivals this summer honing Turf’s vital energy in to a biting demand to be listened to.

The band are currently recording their first album and are playing a live set at Fallow Cafe in Fallowfield on Friday 15th July.


Fallow Cafe
You can listen to Turf’s EP Shark Week here
Turf on Twitter
Turf on Facebook


There is no enemy

As we stand here with our national political life in tatters and our hopes for a shared European future seemingly dashed we must stand together.

There is no need for argument and vitriol, no need for anger and threats. There is no time for further division and no time for blame. As sure as the Earth turns the difficulties we face will be faced by all. Poverty, homelessness, hunger, persecution, these things know no colour or creed and have no taste for justice. The calamity we face will not respect rank or status. We sink together or we swim together.

This is our central and vital truth. Our neighbours and friends may hold different views and opinions, but the only banner we can all gather under demands we stand together.

We must not fall victim to ideologies that say because our world view, the skins we’re in, or the gods we pray to are different someone is to be hated, abused and driven out.

Lessons from our recent history paint an all too vivid picture of what our future holds if we are willing to believe our differences are so extreme, the chasm so deep, that they are too dangerous to bridge.

Bring to mind the images of starving, beaten and abused inmates of the 667 detention camps of the vicious European civil war in Bosnia 1992, and then examine our collective conscience as thousands are currently held in detention camps and refugee centers in the very same places we spent our summer holidays just a few few short years ago.

Consider those Bosnian hell holes and consider the path of causality that leads implacably from hatred to dehumanisation to internment and deportation. Then consider the homeless we pass on our way home. How do we feel? Our answer must be to help them for one day we may be without a home.

Consider the family struggling with hungry young children. How do we feel? Our answer must be feed them for one day we may have no food.

Consider the man abused in the street because a belief system is different. How do we feel? Our answer must be a loud vocal condemnation for if we allow our differences to be a measure of judgement one day we will be judged as different.

There is no enemy.


Gin: From mother’s ruin to man buns

A major marketing triumph of recent times has been the transformation of cider from something that was drunk by spotty teenagers in parks into the drink of choice for people who don’t like beer much. Cider fans have even been convinced that you need to water it down with ice, thus improving profit margins substantially. A triumph indeed.

Now it seems gin has been given an equally ambitious makeover. From ‘mother’s ruin’ of the past gin is fast becoming the tipple of choice for the hip and bearded. Where once the only acceptable use for gin was a very post colonial G & T there are now a proliferation of trendy gin joints, gin festivals and gin-themed nights out. Where once gin and water was the eye-watering preserve of dangerous grandmothers and depressed housewives, now earnest millennials with cut and paste tattoos and a taste for man buns discuss the pros and cons of numerous artisan brands.

According to one of Manchester’s leading food/drink/techno gurus, Tony Naylor, gin sales have hit £1bn in the last year and are likely to keep on growing. For a drink that was infamous for its frankly depressing effect that has got to be one of the marketing triumphs of the decade.

Hats for the homeless

Amid all the talk of a ‘new politics’ there is a renewed belief on the streets that there must be a way of doing things differently and two Manchester-based brothers have have taken matters in to their own hands and launched WAWWA – a clothing firm with a different attitude.

Based in legendary cultural hotspot Afflecks Palace, Sean and Andy confront the growing homeless tragedy on our city streets on a daily basis, and have decided to try and do something beyond sharing loose change and the odd cigarette.


Specialising in Street wear featuring designs inspired by their love of music and cultural mashups WAWWA are donating wooly hats to the homeless. For every wooly hat they sell one hat will be donated to the homeless.

As an idea it probably won’t have a massive impact on the homeless crisis, but you can’t fault the motivation.

You can find out more about WAWWA here –