Out the Box: Mike Pickering

Our latest Out The Box features a man who can justifiably claim to have brought house music to the UK. A Manchester legend, he kick-started the acid house revolution at The Hacienda alongside Graeme Park with their ‘Nude’ and ‘Hot’ nights. He went on to win a Mercury Music Prize with his band M-People, took dance music into the charts with Deconstruction and continues to DJ around the world.

PLACE

It has to be the Etihad stadium, the home of the champions Manchester City. I’ve been a City fanatic for nearly 60 years through thick and thin, just as I went with my dad, nowadays it’s me and my son Charlie. We are season ticket holders, and we try to get to as many of the away games as well, especially the Champions League matches, which have taken us all over Europe, usually staying a few days to enjoy the host cities.

Etihad Stadium, Manchester City

FOOD
I love food but am coeliac, so it cuts down the options a little. I tend to have different restaurants for a specific dish I fancy. For the best Dover sole in London, it’s Lemonia in Primrose Hill all day long been going there for 25 plus years; they don’t bother giving me a menu now as they know what I want.

Lemonia - Greek hideaway

For a good steak, it’s Patagonia on Camden high St. Nobody does steaks like the Argentinians, and anywhere with Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez shirts signed on the wall is good enough for me. I like trying new places but have little patience when trying to find one that is not full. I loved Sessions, though; my favourite Italian is Luca in Clerkenwell.

BOOKS
I love books and travelling gives me plenty of time to read. I recently finished “Long Relationships: my incredible journey from unknown DJ to small time DJ” by Harold Heath. This is a must read for anybody who’s been a clubber; it’s brilliantly written and brutally honest.

Harold Heath

I’m currently reading “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” by Michael Chabon, which ranks in the top 5 books I’ve ever read. An epic tale.

Kavalier & Clay

FILMS
I haven’t been to the cinema much in recent times as I find them uncomfortable and generally not very welcoming places; however, on a recent trip to New York, my daughter introduced me to the films by Jordan Peel, “GET OUT” and “NOPE” which were both really good.

Out The Box: Johnno Burgess

Johnno Burgess

Johnno Burgess has always had his fingers in many pies. He has run club night Bugged Out for nearly 30 years and edited Jockey Slut magazine in the 90s, publishing the first interviews with the likes of Daft Punk and the Chemical Brothers. His new print magazine venture, created in cahoots with old-school Jockey Slut crew Paul Benney & Jim Butler, is Disco Pogo which was launched earlier this year and can be found HERE. With very catholic tastes (Johnno used to try and shoehorn Take That singles into after party playlists) outside of techno, he now co-books for London’s Mighty Hoopla pop festival.

Mr Disco Pogo

FOOD
I used to love the Nepalese Gurkha Grill restaurant in Manchester when I lived there in the nineties. I went so often – sometimes three times a week – before I left the city for London in 1999. I went back there about 12 years later and a few of the staff came out of the kitchen to say hello, I felt like a prodigal son! I’ve recently invested in the Nepalese cookbook Ayla by Santosh Shah who you may have seen on MasterChef: The Professionals in 2020. I can’t wait to get stuck in though our local butcher may not stock the offal and wild boar that seems to be popular with Nepalese chefs. I love making curries, they take bloody ages if done properly, stewing the meat, making the base onion sauces but I find it therapeutic to spend a few hours on a Saturday knee deep in cumin.

The Gurkha Grill

MUSIC
I’m slightly obsessed with Confidence Man at the moment. We booked them for Mighty Hoopla in 2019 off the back of their Boyfriend track. They were so energetic that Sugar Bones fell off the stage, and then popped back up covered in blood from the nose he’d just fallen onto to finish the set. Their 2nd album Tilt is packed with wannabe singles and their live show is now unmissable. If you like bands who understand the theatre of pop and the joys of constant vogueing then go and see them!

 

PLACE
The Rose & Crown pub in Kentish Town is my local. They serve craft beers on rotation by brewers like Deya and Verdant. Over lockdown the pub was kept alive by the local community who would queue up every Friday to takeaway a couple of two pint growler bottles. Weird how my taste has completely changed, I drank pints of continental lager like San Miguel for decades and now it’s half a pint of Session IPA. I need to put my ‘readers’ on to check the % on the taps though as they can be as punchy as Special Brew, sometimes clocking up around the 7.5% mark. They had Luke Una’s Verdant collab on tap for what seemed like minutes, it was very popular and was drained rapidly.

mmmmm tasty brew

FILM
I watched Rear Window again recently which is my favourite Hitchcock. I love Jimmy Stewart and his cranky personality shines through as he plays an adventurous photographer trapped in a wheelchair while his leg is in plaster. He becomes a voyeur through boredom furtively spying on his neighbours through binoculars and then witnesses what he believes to be a murder. I used to live in Gainsborough Studios in Hoxton which is where Hitchcock’s early black & whites were filmed like The 39 Steps. It had a similar gated community to Rear Window where you could look out and see your neighbours on different floors from the balcony though I never invested in binoculars! I went to see The Birds screened in a forest as night fell in a London park once which was creepy. I haven’t watched Psycho naked from a shower yet though.

Out The Box: Chris Massey

Chris Massey seemed the perfect choice to kick off our new ‘Out The Box’ when we ask friends and heroes to tell us about some of the things they love.

Chris AKA The Boy Wonder has been working at Paper Towers for over 10 years and keeps the show on the road while Ben and Pete lounge around in their PJs eating crisps. We have seen him grow from a spotty youth who loved rubbish 80s films into the chiselled hunk of a man he is today who still loves rubbish 80s films.

Chris has carved out a career as one of Manchester’s best loved DJs and party starter as ‘Massey‘, is a damn fine producer and general man-about-town having managed bookings at some of the city’s finest venues including Electriks. He can currently be found event managing at the wonderful Carlton Club when not propping up the bar drinking Vimto out of a straw.

DJ Massey- Paper / Sprechen

Image credit: Slappy Snaps 2021

AND SO OVER TO CHRIS…

Hi, hello, how are you doing…it’s Chris Massey here, fully fledged working class northerner who now resides in Manchester, is still working class but somehow manages to make a living through the crazy industry of music!

Curator, collaborator, label manager, producer, engineer & much more, I fill my days listening to, programming & making music as well as looking for artists to work with on my own Sprechen label and for the mighty ship Paper Recordings. I have been involved with Paper now near enough 10 years now (a space has been cleared in the mantle ready for my carriage clock!) where my duties include overseeing who & what we sign across all 3 label offshoots, running the social media pages, seeking out locations for the annual Christmas do and much more.

Here’s a few things I favour which may have flown under your radar which I wholeheartedly recommend you check out!

BOOK:

Medical Grade Music by Steve Davis & Kavus Torabi
Having booked Steve & Kavus a few times to DJ for me as well as perform with their Utopia String band (who are bloody ace!), I was so excited to finally get this book at Christmas and it didn’t disappoint. 2 blokes from seemingly totally different worlds (one a 6 times world champion snooker player & one from several rock & psych bands) who bonded over music and their journey that brought them together with DJ gigs at Glasto along the way.

Medical Grade Music by Steve Davis and Kavus Torabi

Image Credit: Katie Davies

FILM:

Exorcist III (Directors Cut)
The Exorcist is prob my fave film ever and try as they may, no sequel has ever been anywhere near it (most have just been damn awful!), however the director’s cut of Exorcist III is a really interesting film in that it sticks incredibly close to the original book (called Legion) by William Peter Blatty which for all intents & purposes is more a dark detective noir novel. This is what he went with when he directed the 3rd film which fell victim to studio interference and demands of ‘more horror, it needs spinning heads, an exorcism and of course green vomit!’. The result was a pretty naff film on release with extra scenes filmed just to fit in the textbook exorcism scenes and lots cut from what was originally filmed.

The director’s cut restores all these scenes (most which feature an incredible part by Brad Dourif) which although rough & in work print quality do take the film back to the original source & story and though its nowhere near as good as the 1st film it does stand as a very worthy (though different vibe) film & true sequel. It also has one of THE biggest jump scares ever committed to celluloid.

MUSIC:

Memorex Memories
Being born in 1980 I do have fondness for all things in that era, one of being more modern music that borrows heavily & has plenty of nods to a time before mobile phones ruled out lives. Memorex Memories ticks all these boxes & then some. Not sure how I stumbled across him but I think it was when listening to a ‘Vaporwave’ mix, of which his tracks where the standouts. A quick look round found his page on Bandcamp and opened me up to his insanely good productions which seem to somehow straddle post dubstep with 80’s synth heavy film scores. Really cool & really inspirational…check him out asap. Listen HERE.

Memorex Memories Bandcamp

PLACE

Lords Antiques & Salvage

My parents have recently moved from their home in Bolton to set up a new life a bit further ‘oop north’ in the village of Bentham near Lancaster. Its a stunning little village which has great views & dog walks and which also conveniently now means that we get to have mini weekend breaks whenever we feel the need to get out of dodge!

On a recent trip over to my parents told us about Lords Antiques which sounded amazing and which we instantly planned to visit with the dogs (as its dog friendly!) Its a huge space on multiple floors selling lots & lots of ace old stuff. Not just ‘tatt’ (which is my fave!) but loads of really great interior & exterior salvage. You want heavy marble pillars? No probs! You want a set of animatronic dinosaurs? Just got a full set in stock.

They also have a full room dedicated to taxidermy where one of our dogs took an instant liking to the wild boar skin rug (we just about got him out of there before he ate its ear!).

Well worth a visit to this little known place that’s tucked away in the outer realms of the countryside…plenty to see & do nearby too. Go have a mooch HERE.

Lords Antiques & Salvage

REACH OUT:

@chrismasseymusic (Facebook & IG)
@sprechenmusic (Facebook & IG)