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My Weekender is a weekly column written by changing authors selected from the Shanghai community. According to the various tastes, interests and backgrounds of its authors, My Weekender serves as a window into what residents in the city are doing with their time off.

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[My Weekender] with Gaz Williams

Mar 5, 2010

Gaz is the manager down at The Shelter. He's also a member of reggae group, Uprooted Sunshine, and a promoter behind a lot of parties, including this Saturday's show by Mark Ernestus of Rhythm & Sound.

I'm trying to write this without sounding like I'm just trying to hype up the events I'm involved with this weekend, but seen as the point in me doing this is to hype up the events I'm involved with this weekend its proving difficult. I'd also like to try and sound like I live a nice, healthy, cultured life style where I go to the gym and have 'brunch; with friends and am generally a fun, sociable person, but seen as I much prefer sitting in my boxers watching shitty old movies, smoking far too many cigarettes and eating Hello Pizza, this is also proving difficult. I am a member of a gym, I have the gym card in front of me now, and one day I will go there and exercise, one day... What the fuck is brunch anyway? I'm pretty sure I never used this word, or never knew anyone who did, before I came to Shanghai.

Friday morning I've got to wait in for the delivery of the next Pause Mix CD by B6. Hopefully they should arrive before midday. My usual morning routine is to wake up and promise myself I'm going to be healthy today, eat well and not smoke too much. I'll go downstairs to the fruit shop and buy a range of different fruits for my breakfast and then take them home and arrange them nicely in a bowl on the table. This is where they will stay until either ChaCha eats them or they go bad. I'll then put the kettle on and make a brew, but promise myself I won't have a cigarette until at least mid day. After my first mouthful of tea ill convince myself that if I have just one cigarette then that will take away my morning craving and I won't have another till after lunch. By the time I've finished the cup of tea (maybe 10 minutes later) I will have already have at least 3 cigarettes. Never mind, tomorrow I'll definitely cut down... definitely.

After the CDs have arrived I've got to run around town picking up bits of equipment from here and there for Mark Ernestus on Saturday. Patrick Mai at GuangYuan is lending me a mic and cables, I've got to rent a delay unit from another rental company whose name I can't remember right now, Mr Shanghai Ultra is kindly lending me his SL3, Nat Alexander his mixer (as it is the exact model Mark has requested) and I’ve got to go and buy a few random cables from the electronics market on Fuxing / Xiangyang.

After everything is collected I've got to get ready for the Riot Grrls night at Dada. Me and ChaCha are going on a kind of tour over the next few months (including Wuhan and ChongQing with Antidote, The Boat in Beijing, a gig with Mungo’s Hi-Fi in Hong Kong, DJ Dragon's Subway night in Bangkok and a big reggae festival in HuaHin), and tonight at Dada is the first time we will perform the set we've been planning for it. It's basically ChaCha's first full live set made up from the songs she's been recording over the last year or so. We've been practicing the last few weeks and it's sounding pretty nice so hopefully it will go well. Although I've been calling myself a "DJ" for the last 10 years or so, as I'm sure your aware if you've seen me play before, I'm pretty shit at mixing and really I'm just a record collector who likes to show off his collection. Because of this, and because I have to represent ChaCha and Uprooted on this small tour, I've got to get my shit together and actually practice for once. After I practice for maybe 5 or 10 minutes I'll get bored and sit back down and smoke a bunch more cigarettes whilst reading a load of music blogs and forums I follow but never contribute to. A few hours later ChaCha will come back from work and I'll tell her how hard I've been practicing and that I'm definitely ready to smash it tonight. I'll then get shouted at for a bit for making the flat a mess and try and try to make it up to her by offering her the lovely fruit bowl I had prepared just for her.

Me and ChaCha will probably grab dinner at 131 or whatever it's called (the spicy place next to Anar, really great food) and then head to Dada early for a quick soundcheck for ChaCha's mic. After the set (I think we are playing 12 – 1) we'll probably sneak out and head to Shelter to catch Andy Smith. I've been wanting to book Andy for Shanghai By Bus for a while now as he also plays a killer reggae selection, but Gary beat me to it! It's all good though, he plays the freshest Northern Soul and Funk set going so I’m sure he will kill it tonight!!

Saturday morning I'll get up around midday and head straight to the airport to pick up Mark Ernestus and Tikiman. I've been booking international acts for a few years now so you'd think I'd be used to meeting artists and stuff, but I still get nervous and worry I'm going to make a twat of myself! It's a real honor for me to be hosting them in Shanghai as I really love and respect their work and music they have made and, as they have very kindly adjusted their usual fee so to make it possible for us to have them here, I'm quite anxious to make sure that they have a great time here. We'll go straight from the airport to the hotel to check them in first and then go to Shelter for soundcheck. Mark is using a few different effects units for their set, and Tikiman is using a Kaoss Pad on his mic so we will probably spend a bit of time making sure the sound is as good as we can get it. Afterwards I think I'll take them to Charmant for dinner, which is our usual pre-show dinner spot. My guess is that they will want to chill at the hotel for a bit before they go to Shelter so I'll drop them back there, quickly go home and grab the B6 CDs to give out on the night, and then go to Shelter to start up the night. At this point I'll probably get really stressed like I usually do before a big night. Blaise is on first, then dji (who is finding it hard to plan his set for this one as he usually plays a load of stuff by Mark Ernestus and his many monikers), then Mark and Tiki, then B6 and finally me at the end.

I'm really looking forward to Mark and Tiki's set, and I'm sure its going to surprise quite a lot of people! '80s digi, roots, dub-techno, dancehall, all with Tikiman's amazing vocal skills! Lovely! By the time Mark and Tiki have come on I'll probably have got over the stress and anxiety and relax a bit, drink much more than I planned, and finally remember why I enjoy doing this.

Sunday is pretty much Mark and Tiki's call. It's their first time in China and they are only here for a few days so they want to see as much as possible. I'll probably take them to the Jade Buddha Temple in the afternoon which I still really enjoy even though I've been there quite a few times now, and then maybe to M40 if they are interested. I actually really enjoy being a tour guide for guests here as it actually gets me up off my fat arse and makes me go and see a bit of the city and its culture. In the evening we might go to Mokkos for a few drinks, or maybe to Dada for Santo's disco night. Maybe we'll also have a brunch or two.