Essential Listening: Blowing Up The Workshop 90 by X-Altera & 95 by Death Is Not The End

In recent times the prospect of listening to a multi-hour mix has held little appeal. I mean, what if I like it? And it requires multiple listens to parse it’s elements satisfactorily. While that makes mixes similar to albums, how I consume them on repeat listens is completely different. Little doubt this immensely time consuming rigorousness is just me being really fucking weird, but I have to listen, and then investigate a certain section (or song) that caught the ear. Preferably the mix would have a tracklist which truncates the process, making it easier to discern if it’s a product of mixing or an individual track. Failing that, there’s Shazaam. Sadly I’ve found it isn’t consistent with recognising obscure stuff I often gravitate towards.

I only found and gave either of these mixes a look due to the Blowing Up The Workshop’s reputation for quality or conceptual esotericism. That and I’m currently on a Jungle and drum’n’bass listening phase. The concept of X-Altera’s almost four hour mix of Jungle cuts, all from the era when it ascended (circa 1992-96) is one of the mix series’ most conventional offerings. And for good reason. Only Jungle from that era sounds authentic. It has DIY in its genes, with many of its classics created in dingy bedrooms, dingier backrooms and small studios by ‘non-musicians’ (they’re called producers now) using less than stellar gear. My pious trumpeting of genuine Jungle solely belonging to said circumstances is frivolous and inverted, fallacious, myopic snobbery. However, the quality of this mix supports my prevaricating.

And it made me realise something else – I just need to get over myself and stick to my guns. Gotta suppress those momentary lapses where existential dread that I’m blowing my life bubbles over. If you can’t shake the feeling that you’re wasting time, or your life generally, that there’s something else better, but, frustratingly, you can’t conceive of it, you might as well do something you know you enjoy. Identifying the individual tracks of a mix, and fusing them with my existing playlists, is one of my pettiest vices. Thankfully this X-Altera’s mix isn’t one from Demdike Stare, with disparate offerings over-lapping, featuring bountiful obscurities which come from fanatical crate digging, the kind which tend to have no home other than the context in which they were discovered.

It also served another equally beneficial purpose, by reminding me of Jungle tracks in my library that I’d neglected or forgotten I had (and yes, it’s bleeming large), and introduced me to cuts from the era which eluded me completely. Another consequence of my obsessive mix mining geekery is putting one of these track ID’s into YouTube (to confirm it is the right one) and letting its autoplay algorithm que up tracks. It’s a great way of discovering other belters. While you may rightly bristle at your browsing data being stored and potentially exploited, this instance is one of the few occasions where it can be beneficial.

I can’t help but link these mixes together as representative of a systemic feedback loop, albeit with their release order inverted. With 95 showcasing the fertile sub-culture supporting independent music, and 90 extolling a genre of music which spawned from it.

Death is Not The End’s mix inhabits the conceptual end of the mix spectrum. It’s a highly personalised curation, as if it’s one’s memory of pirate radio stations fragmented by time, and or just by the cassettes they were recorded on. The mission is clear – to rep what was as an essential element of Bristol’s fertile music scene. Much has been written in mythologizing Bristol music and subculture, but somehow, in just over an hour, Death is Not The End, through a series of disparate, often amusingly cringey, anecdotal excerpts from pirate radio, be it phone calls from inebriated listeners (or their mothers), adverts (including jingles) for club events or meetings (to resist capitalist influence/corporatised health warnings) or just random DJ commentary, manages to create a more vivid homage that just a selection of tracks could. There is music, mostly dub and drum ‘n’ bass, but it shifts with the sudden cuts, and remains secondary throughout.

It’s both miraculous and heartening that these clips were somehow saved for posterity. It makes me want to hear more, and hear more independent radio like this. Sadly, like Jungle, it cannot be synthesized in different circumstances, and certainly not now without feeling disingenuous. The closest I can think of to it, in terms of tone and format, is Charlie Bones’ morning show on NTS, but that’s syndicated worldwide on the internet. I also lament all the other snippets that were left out of this mix or that have been consigned to attics or garages, or never recorded, never to be heard again.

There’s something to be learned by re-examining the structures of musical niches from this perspective: before contemporary modernity, when pirate radio was dependent on a hyper specific eco-system; independent, genre oriented and with an intimacy between DJ, listeners and callers. The audience was sustained entirely by belonging to that time, place and taste. It was an investment that clearly paid dividends for all.

While the internet (so vast and encompassing that there is no privacy, no true ownership) has supplanted independent radio’s place and removed demand for its past incarnation, at least it is furnishing us with other creative variables and greater reach. These two mixes are evidence we shouldn’t be pissing and moaning about how things have changed. They remind us of how and why pirate radio and Jungle music were so important to the people then and influential to creativity today. Their message still stands: Imagination costs nothing and anything is possible if you’ve got it.

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Song Of The Day – Wooden Ships by Crosby, Stills & Nash

From the album ‘Crosby, Stills & Nash’ (1969)

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Song Of The Day – Substitute by The Who

From the compilation album ‘Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy’ (1971)

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Addicted to Porn

‘Mr Mansfield-Bosworth, what are the justifications for tabling said policy?’

‘We aim to make it another facet of the post-Brexit strategy’

‘And why is that?’

‘It’ll be for the youth’

‘The youth?’

‘Yes, and I haven’t seen this brought up by anyone. It’s important. Brexit is for future generations. The decisions we make now will shape them. In public service that’s our duty, and for too long we have been in dereliction-’

‘But people, well…some people, appear to be reconsidering their position on Brexit, and the general direction of this country-’

‘Yes, that’s my point’

‘How so?’

‘We’ve become a society pre-occupied with gratification, in all forms. In particular, scatological distractions are perpetual. It has warped our behaviour, our psychological equilibrium, making us less satisfied and less productive, ultimately less decisive. We want one thing, then another a minute later. Only the structure created by firm policy can offer the public the certainty they need. Restricting the public’s access to pornography will help focus minds’

Teed him up perfectly. Bought and paid for. Little doubt he practised that cynical soliloquy, written by one of his cosseted atavistic minions, in the mirror. Her eyes suddenly descended from the television screen to some stray cum that was starting to run down her inner thigh. Why on earth was she watching Mansfield-Bosworth in-between takes? The director’s call came. Derek Dong, the other performer (real name Paul Welsh), was ready to go again. She wiped her undercarriage with a wet wipe before repurposing her character’s slutty secretarial outfit.

Little doubt the interview would go down well in Mansfield-Bosworth’s constituency. A safe seat. Fiercely home counties conservative. An easy job for this London boy. One time, after a line of some stuff (assumed to be cocaine, she declined to partake), he confided his disdain for his constituents, specifically the innate smugness of their xenophobia. Comments aimed at London’s diversity tested his diplomacy and grated at his affinity and pride for the place. He described much of his constituency as splicing the idyllic topography of Midsomer Murders with a mendacious strain of Nazism’s exclusivity. They’d deny it, but outsiders and rebelliousness produced furrowed brows, cold responses and a subsequent distancing. There are enclaves of progressiveness to be found in most rural places and small towns, but not in that shire. It was the antithesis of Bohemia. Untermenschen wisely chose to live elsewhere, and the few who did concealed it to appease the majority’s complacency. They preferred to discriminate against anything that embodied change, rather than consciously acknowledge the truth – things could and would change drastically and they had little control over it. Case and point, Romanian fruit pickers had become accepted, as from the lofty vantage point of Pat’s barstool down the Bull & Beast ‘they pissed off home every year’. Clearly, such work was beneath God’s chosen.

According to Mansfield-Bosworth, we (she assumed the plural meant his class and or those who went to a proper school) had already ceded too much control. Now technology and libertarianism had collided, creating the perception that intellectual standards had fallen. Mansfield-Bosworth opined that before the advent of modern technology it was easier to detain the proles to a richly deserved intellectual and physical serfdom. Their uniformed and simplistic opinions remained in the confines of pubs and shacks. Outside of trade unions or mass revolts, their influence on policy was minimal. Back then (she assumed he was talking about pre-industrialisation) it was easy to be ambivalent about, or simply ignore, their limited forms of hedonism. However, in the age of the information super highway, their voices have equality, whether they deserve to have it commoditised or not. Daily they espouse inane rot on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and trash television, be it talent shows or Jeremy Kyle all because ‘we’ had diminished society with egalitarianism. Now the masses, with their jaded palates, enjoyed a standard of living that allowed them to purpose the zeitgeist, only to perpetuate and consume their own junk. In retort, she did of course point out that this transmogrification of prole culture as the new mainstream, and its subsequent proliferation and commoditisation, was a form of exploitation. A claim he flatly rejected. According to Mansfield-Bosworth it can only be considered exploitation if someone benefits, and nobody did. This hypothesis and the myriad of solutions he proposed were the dismal rantings of a simpleton, but at least that classical education, gifted by exceptionalism that only wealth and cronyism can furnish, hadn’t gone completely to waste. It had certainly taught him how to be a cunt.

Years in the sex industry had jaundiced hers and her sex drive, a product of doing it too often dispassionately, often with oversized appendages. She still found men attractive, well, a few. Those who weren’t she found repulsive, and Mansfield-Bosworth was repulsive. He offered a tawdry fifty something phenotype; pot belly, moobs, sagging gammon flesh, a preponderance of gnarly body hair and last and certainly least his three inch member, elongated only by a flappy rumply foreskin, which he shamelessly wielded as though it was three times larger. One part of his body did fascinate her, as from her usual position it was prominent – the bald patch on the top of his head. It had a constellation of moles, which if she cared one iota about him, she’d suggest getting looked at by a dermatologist.

The first time was somewhat of a novelty, a new experience. She was the one doing the fucking for once. It was the first time for him too. He shivered with nervous excitement, almost recoiling when she first touched him. Before she’d started he was absolutely engorged, and ejaculated quite soon after. When she reached around to pleasure him, as he’d requested, his penis was already drooping back to insipidity, drenched in a disgusting combination of bellybutton fluff, sweat, spray tan and semen.

While she did think of herself as performer (she couldn’t not), she did not think of herself as a prostitute, or even an escort. Her clients paid well, and when coupled the income of with her performance work it allowed her to live a relatively affluent lifestyle. Until recently, the thought of jeopardising this always made her hesitant to change course drastically. While she had been sensible with her money and saved well, she still needed a steady income. Reaching her late thirties, not the likes of Mansfield-Bosworth, had triggered her to think of a career change. Female performers’ careers are short, once the wrinkles arrive and the skin sags, most get discarded. And while she took care of her body, and she was starting to get more MILF parts, her performance income had almost halved from ten years ago. Camming had been tried, but she had no interest in returning to it. Other undesirable elements of the industry had also influenced her to think of quitting, the third abortion had blunted her ambition to be a mother. And just what was the point of earning an accountancy degree at night school if she wasn’t going to use it? Quitting cold felt as though it was the only effective method of stepping away from adult entertainment and escorting altogether. It was just a question of finding the how.

Recently she had become rattled, not only because Mansfield-Bosworth revealed troubling hints as to the genesis of their first meeting, but also being subject to the inception of his vile political strategies. Originally he had thought of taking a vehemently anti-abortion or LGBT position, but data suggested neither was populist enough. People weren’t evangelical enough in this country to care ‘about that shit’. All of this brazen brainstorming was in the name of private aspiration, to ultimately acquire a senior cabinet position. His claims that his initial discovery of her was by chance were believable. This occurred by randomly perusing videos over several free porn sites, amidst other porn videos that shared a genealogy with his requirements. She suspected that the very popular fucking Stacey Slapp with a strap-on clip from ‘Desperate Househusbands 2’ was responsible for bringing her into Mansfield-Bosworth’s orbit. The suspicion that she’d been thoroughly vetted by someone lingered and was assumed by logic. In a fit of paranoia she wondered what questions were posed and how they probed. Did she need money? No. Was she followed? Not that she could tell. How did she treat her other clients? She did only have two others, and they were treated professionally too. Would she likely rat on him? Before he started using the remaining allotted time of their sessions as therapy and revealed himself, no. Now? Yes. How would being the one who exposed him affect her reputation, or future career prospects? Who knows? One thing is for certain, she had passed the test, whatever it was, and now Mansfield-Bosworth trusted her.

Knocking on the hotel room door incited an instant scrambling, legs clattered off furniture and glasses rattled against bottles. Entering the room his breathing was heavy and deliberate, and there was a distinct whiff of his semen every time the air was disturbed. She produced the dildo. The sight of it made him exhale and collapse on the end of the bed with arms outstretched. He sat up, with his hands moving to cover his eyes and he started breathing slowly, steadily and audibly. ‘Only you can do me right’, he appealed. A stream of consciousness followed, where he divulged that a series of visions and items would flash through his mind randomly and arouse him at inopportune times; buttplugs, a collection of fingers, placed in formation, to pleasure the prostate, a tight female fist, lube squirting from a bottle, he even thought about sodomising himself with cucumber, or a broomstick handle covered with a foam finger covered by a condom. But mostly his mind fixated on her heaving bosom when paired with her heavy Mandingo member. He wanted, no, needed, to see her more regularly. He was prepared to beg, pay triple, whatever it took.

She managed not to vomit until she got home later. His career must be decimated. Not in the phony way Neil Hamilton’s or Stephen Byers’ were, where monetary redemption through celebrity status or a autobiography can be achieved with the mere passing of time. Her industry contacts paired her with a gruesome Max Clifford wannabee. But he was the best. However, so was Clifford, who was a predatory molester. Despite not even offering a name he had managed to create a bidding war between the top two Red Tops. He said good six figure offers had already been advanced. He probed, did she have the video? No. But she’d have it in a few days, but ‘wanted to think it over’. The terms of their agreement, and the percentage he’d receive were thrashed out quickly, too quickly. She started to feel queasy. It was real now. For all his flaws Bosworth wasn’t a scumbag in Clifford’s echelon. He was however the ultimate hypocrite, who sought to drive esoteric and exotic sexual fantasies further into privacy rather than liberating them, all for personal professional gain which he did not need, nor was she convinced he truly desired. He was doing what was expected of him. His whole life was defined by a pathetic charade, predicated on conforming to a formula of inheritance that had worked for generations – where unforgiving peer pressure sought to maintain the venerability of the upper class.

She understood the consequences of her actions. The only thing that differentiated her from Mansfield-Bosworth was intent, but the result would likely be the same, and under her direction, perhaps worse. The injustice infuriated her. Ratting him out would see niche fantasies, proclivities and fetishes mercilessly ridiculed and demonised as synonymous with genuine deviancies such as paedophilia and necrophilia. This would be heightened when perused through the prism of a famous or public figure being humbled in the name of good copy.

Fetishes are hyper-specific forms of true arousal. Most struggle to understand them because flesh is enough. In her experience those who realised a fetish were significantly more content. Only a few genuinely surprised, confounded or even angered her. The most egregious being a clearly wealthy man offering her a lot of money to shave her head. Another wanted her to lick his wife’s eyeballs as he ‘watched’. The logistics of body shaving during sex are best left untold. The danger of bestiality with large cats is best avoided. Men having sex with each other whilst dressed as fifties matinee icons, replete with rubber masks, was, eh, something. Fucking after being injured in a car crash was so nineties. All the permutations and scenarios offered by cross dressing have been done before. Fucking in furry suits makes for an amusing documentary. Shagging in the Auschwitz gas chambers less so. She had no need to understand the pathologies behind them, just as she had no need to understand Mansfield-Bosworth’s or Mansfield-Bosworth.

Mansfield-Bosworth had texted her sixteen times, and phoned eight times, over the past forty-eight hours. When she finally called him back she told him he could use her place for his next appointment, provided he paid quadruple the usual rate. His capitulated relief consisted of a nauseating wail, so loud that everyone else in the family sized restaurant, where her and Terry were meeting, could hear it over the line.

Terry took some enjoyment in setting up. The logistics of setting up a hidden camera was a welcome change from the usual porn shoot, as was plotting a porn exposé on the fly. They discussed it in detail over the meal, but they became animated, almost impassioned, when they talked of future plans that had nothing to do with the porn industry. Lighting was the biggest issue, but using the professional grade equipment that Terry owned would temper this to a degree. The side angle was critical. The money shot. She wanted the world to see Big Black penetrating him, with a front on view to reveal his disgusting coitus face. By now she knew his tendencies well enough to cover every essential angle; which side of the bed he liked to sit on, how and where he undressed, and that he liked to grip the bed posts at the foot of the bed while being penetrated.

He watched himself in the mirror intently as she mounted him from behind. Her considerable augmented breasts rested on his back as she plunged the rubber appendage up his anus and started slowly thrusting it in and out, caressing his sphincter. Ninety seconds later, at the point of ejaculation, she was tiring. Wearing six inch heels and a waist harness with a rubber member which weighed almost a kilo, stabbing it upwards using her pelvis, while reaching around to pull him off, placed immense strain on her lower back and thighs. Thankfully it was nearly over, as his tell arrived, he was now massaging the back of his teeth over his bottom lip, brow furrowed, head tilting back, eyes rolled upwards in their sockets, eyelids flickering and the veins on his forehead were turning a hue of metallic blue. This would be her last contact with Mansfield-Bosworth, yet it felt pyrrhic. She’d seen him in various attitudes of pleasure too often that some had forever burned themselves into her memory, as would the huge fart which bellowed from his arse seemingly seconds after she stepped away.

Monday, just before ten at night, and Mansfield-Bosworth, wearing only an open dressing gown and socks whose soles were filthy, lay on his bed. He hadn’t left the house in over three weeks. Not even the cleaner was allowed in. The place looked like the clichéd aftermath of decadent drug-addiction; generic litter and drug paraphernalia strewn everywhere, empty wine, craft beer and champagne bottles festooned every surface, cutlery and garments lay on the floors, the bedclothes were visibly soiled, and it stunk of male secretions, drying alcohol and days old takeaway meals. A few photogs were still camped outside his house. The television remained off. He had resigned. Now all he had left was to cycle through his favourited porn videos. He clasped his worn raw member in his right hand and used the left to click on one of them. Then he saw it in the suggested videos below. The infamous shaming video starring him and Maria Master-Bates had been uploaded to PornHub in High Definition. With some reticence he began to watch it, and then came an epiphany that could salvage him. His bodily hairs erected, the endorphins pulsed, and his muscles twinged as he remembered all the physical sensations of Maria Master-Bates sodomising him. They were the real thing, and they were his and his only.

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Song Of The Day – Scientifical Madness by Jeru The Damaja

From the album ‘Wrath of the Math’ (1996)

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