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Monday, December 9th, 2013

ak-herc-desert

GREETINGS FROM LA!

Sorry for the radio silence. In the past few weeks I’ve written and recorded most of an albums’ worth of insanely huge pop smashes, seven potential theme tunes for a new HBO show, and the soundtrack for a jeans commercial. Along with that I’ve been going out, playing our records on state of the art soundsytems, meeting people and Making Things Happen. Oh, and maintaining my position as WORLD’S NUMBER ONE DAD. Shit is entirely hectic, and super exciting.

We have been out here four weeks now, and everything is going pretty much according to plan, apart from the crazy awesome stuff that wasn’t in the plan at all. Anyway, we’re supposed to be flying back to Hellwinter and homelessness in two weeks time, which means I have 14 days to make this shit happen. So apologies again for the lack of Keatsian prose and photo diaries. I’m posting when I can on social networks – mostly on Instagram, with Facebook and Twitter trailing – so you can holla at me there if you like.

The shop is still open, and our dear friend Nonny back in London is making sure people’s orders get to them in a timely fashion. We’re putting together some festive bundles for Christmas, and I am putting aside time to draw FESTIVE DON DOODLES, so if you want to buy your loved one some genuine custom DON ART, you can do just that by visiting the shop here.

Right, I’d better get back to mixing. I hope you are well, wherever you are. MERRY HAPPY!

— Monday, December 9th, 2013

Friday, November 29th, 2013

Black-Friday-2013

The title didn’t lie! To celebrate fucksgiving day – the day in which FUCKS are given, you can go and cop ANYTHING at all from the Don Shop at HALF PRICE. CDs, digital bundles, prints, shirts, EVERYTHING. For one day only. ONE DAY OOOOONLY!

Enter the code BLACKFRIDAY2013 at checkout to claim your mighty discount. GO GO GO!

Meanwhile, we celebrated Fucksgiving in style today, at Lord Simon White’s palatial Silverlake home where a banquet was thrown in all of our honours. Herc was beloved by all and had the time of his life.

THANKS GANG YOU GUYS FUCKING RULE!

simon-white-and-hercules

— Friday, November 29th, 2013

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

HOLLYWOOD ERA FAMILY PORTRAIT, 2013

Holy crap. Can it really be two whole earth weeks since Le Family Don got unceremoniously booted out of the cosy confines of Don Studios IV, Hackney Wick, and boarded a plane to Los Angeles with nothing but a couple of bags and dreams of sunshine? Time might well move faster than sound, but that sure feels like a fucking long time ago. I feel like a different man, Charlotte a different woman, and little ten month old Hollywood Hercules is demonstrably an entirely different boy.

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Two weeks ago he babbled drooling gibberish and managed six or seven little steps at a time before falling on his ass like some rolling drunk on Christmas Eve. Now he runs round and round dinner tables like some better-hung Usein Bolt urchin child, and bellows proudly: “EEEH!” “DAAA” “MUUUH!” “EEEEE!”

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On Saturday he worked out how to open bottles, emptying a couple into fat puddles that he sat in happily, nappy sucking up SmartWater hungrily as he chewed proudly on the neck. He ripped up a number of Wade’s treasured fashion magazines, emptied out his sock drawers, and hid his Gillette Match 3. He met many women and they all fell in love with him. He punched his father in the penis many times, slept in Wade’s bed with his parents, and made friends with a rubber duck that looks like Charlie Chaplin. He danced at dawn to Kpop with a drunken revelling afterparty family, trailed toilet paper around the flat like a puppy, then reared up on his hindquarters and beat his chest like an ape. He’s grown more in these two weeks than I remember him doing since he was a foglet. Two weeks in Hollywood running around a table made a man of him.

Hercules and Chaplin Duck

So Hollywood Hercules became a man. or at least, the closest thing a ten month old baby can be to a toddler without quite being a todder yet. Meanwhile Mama Don enjoyed gins by the pool, completed her most recent Great Work, and Matriarched Mightily in the manner of a Warrior Doness. Calum ran up and down Runyon Canyon and watched every movie in the cinema and got a gang of awesome directing jobs and mainly stuck to the white booze. As for Wade and I, we wrote another 5 or so mega hits, partied hard and righteously, took exciting meetings, scored adverts, played our songs to delighted humans in packed nightclubs and cosy studios alike, and pretty much did everything we set out to do in our first third of my time out here. Level Next is when shit gets 5D. The big reveal is not far off.

Oh, how I would love to write the many novels each day inspires. Of the joy that threatens to drown me every time I open my eyes in the morning and remember where I am, who I am with an what we are doing. But that would leave no time for the Living. It is no shock that I have barely tweeted since I’ve been out here. There’s too much awesome tangible shit to engage in. I feel further away from the internet than I have since, well, since last time I embarked upon an epic American Quest. After years cooped up in that little flat, desperately smashing my face into the desk trying to eke an existence doing what it is that I love, life suddenly feels panoramic again. Limitless. No ceilings.

Freddie sings to me:

“These are the days of our lives…”

Charlie winks.

“Life is as kind as you let it be.”

I knew that. I said it every day for five years. But I had to fall down a flight of stairs to remember to get up again.

Anyway. What was it I said about leaving time for The Living? And here it is, nearing midnight, with so much to do tomorrow, with a mere 20ish days left of this moment in time. So, for now, enjoy these snapshots of a period we shall call The Three Men (And A Mamma Don) And A Baby Era, or The Hollywood Era, a true Era indeed, one marked by numerous life-changing, career-defining, future-shaping events, one with it’s own dance routine, it’s own food, it’s own TV show (“YOU’RE FUCKING OUT! I’M FUCKING IN!”), even it’s own fucking theme song.

All together now:

“WOW! FANTASTIC BABY!”

Let the photo montage begin.

First things first, we erected a mighty makeshift vocal booth in the former Wade Crescent Ratchet Studios, Hollywood, because that room is vast and sounds like a cotdurned church.

Wade and Calumn babysat, blessing Mamma and Papa Don with a rare trip to The Cinema. Saw Gravity. Snapped neck avoiding shrapnel. Could barely move head for days. Otherwise unimpressed with the movie, which was shallow, dull, and entirely gassed with its own ill conceived self importance and pomposity.

Wade gave up his bed for my family for two weeks, while he slept on the sofa. There is true friendship, and honour. Alongside devouring all four seasons of Eastbound And Down, AKA The Second Greatest TV Show Of All Time, Hercules and I enjoyed a little Axecop one night when we couldn’t get HBO Go to work. Our hero’s voice is provided by a certain Ron Swanson, which was deeply appropriate, and wholly inspiring.

Herc continued to have the time of his life, getting interested in the toilet and doing his best Andrex Puppy impressions.

On the first Sunday we had a family outing to Malibu.

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Hercules was dressed in his lizard outfit. He was very happy.

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As were we all.

We found an abandoned motel, outside which we gleefully took pictures, and claimed to have bought it on Facebook, not expecting so many people to believe so obvious a jest. But then, I realised, that is the sort of thing we might do, had we the inclination and resources, and that people recognise such is pretty fucking ace.

A dead seal gave me a moment of reflection. That Seal lived a wonderful life, I thought, he swam in the warm California waters. Now his body is lying on the beach like driftwood. So it goes. Then we went for beers and I changed Herc’s nappy in the toilet, like a Man.

I saw a fellow Man on a rock, fishing. The clouds formed an inverted pyramid above his head. I was proud of that man, in that moment. He was allowing life to be kind.

Thor, which Us Boys saw while Mamma Don stayed home with Herc, was fucking ace. It was still ace when Mamma Don and I saw it a few nights later (although what was going on with the mid-credits sequence that looked like Season 1 Red Dwarf without the grading job was beyond all of us.)

Many hits were made in the renamed Studio of Dreams.

Herc approved hits.

We tested those hits out at Hooray Henry’s, where our dear friend Margo Stilley was having a birthday. We had a table to ourselves with a bottomless bucket of vodka on it, attended by a talented mixologist who fixed us fine cocktails. “Well if this isn’t nice, what is?” I wondered out loud, as the club’s owner returned the phone I had thought lost, and one of our new songs came on. Future and Sasha Grey danced. It really is a great song. The bass sounded perfect, at last.

Truly, it is an amazing feeling to try out songs you recorded mere hours ago on a great big sound system, and watching waitresses and bouncers and even Drinking Human folks enjoying them.

It is also an amazing feeling to fall over drunk and take selfies.

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It is ALSO an amazing feeling to retiurns from such an after party to your wife and infant, who join you in after-after party celebrations at 6 am, as the sun rears its sleepy head and floods the penthouse with golden lightbeams.

Herc enjoyed his little self. We played Minimanimo 6 times.

When we woke up someone had scrawled “TRUE ROMANCE… TONY SCOTT” on the bathroom mirror and there was a great big empty bottle of Jack Daniels on the table. Ah, I thought. Evidence.

As mentioned, the Hollywood’ Era’s defining show was Eastbound and Down, and Kenny Powers our inspiration. I want his face tattooed on me, so I never forget to Be Great.

AS IF I EVER WOULD.

The defining food was tacos.

One of the many ace things about Hollywood is that you can turn down a side street for a few minutes and find yourself up a fucking canyon.

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Charlotte was responsible for pushing us to get up top. I was all like, “I need to get back and do this song,” and she was all like, “but when you get up there you’ll be infused with Canyon Power,” and I was all like, “oh yeah you’re fucking RIGHT”, and lo, she was.

Man like Xavier popped round and bless your productions with Latin Fire.

On our last day in Hollywood, the sun beat down upon us like racist policemen, and Hollywood Stars serendipitously reflected in my unknowing selfie sunglasses. Wade and I took exiting meetings, nailing both of them like Christ to The Cross. Our Bohemian Rhapsody-level Turbo Ambitious Pop Anthem continued to fox us, but we persevered, and wrote 8 hooks, all gold. Eventually though, the day was done, and it was time to go. Nothing lasts forever, even cold November rain, but parting is still such a sweet sorrow.

With a couple of prods at my cellphone, I booked us an Uber, and Wade and Calum helped us drag our gypsy belongings downstairs, where an SUV with blacked out windows and a friendly driver called Ari awaited us patiently.

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Without once looking back, Hercules marched out Wade’s front door in the outfit his favourite Swedish-Irish-Californian uncle bought for him, down the corridor, into the elevator, down the hall and out the doors, onto Hollywood Boulevard, to Silverlake, and his new future. We followed him.

So ended an era.

The Three Men (And A Mamma Don) And A Baby Era.

The Hollywood Era.

ALWAYS IN OUR HEARTS.

Onwards to Level Next.

WOW.

FANTASTIC BABY.

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PS – Incredibly, as I typed those final words, the very song I was referencing came on my random Youtube Playlist, a one in ninety eight chance of occurrence, and more proof that we are, as Malcolm X would have it, “walking with Allah.” A fucking men.

— Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

HOLY-FUCKING-SHIT-DUDE-550

DON x CRESCENT ENJOYING OUR NEW ANTHEM.

Guitars and synths and pianos just came in via internets from HorrorWinterLand.

THANK YOU BJ YOU ARE A FUCKING GOD.

#CHANGETHEWORLD

— Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

Hey gang! This is your friendly neighbourhood Don here, reporting live from Hollywood Boulevard, where I’m currently holed up with my lil family at my buddy Wade Crescent’s place, where we’re working on HITS and enjoying the California Autumn, which necessitates the wearing of VESTS at all times. Also Superman hats if you’re Hollywood Herc and you need to protect your purdy lil head from the blazing sunshine.

Strange to think that this time last week we were in the process of being last-minute evicted, packing up Don Studios into Big Yellow Storage, while lil Herc stumbled from box to box, tripping over piles of crap and weeping fat tears in the very space he was born in when it was finally time to leave, forever.

Now he runs laps around Wade’s dining table in his Lizard outfit and I have never seen him happier.

The other day Wade stumbled in drunk at 6am and the pair chased each other round the table on hands and knees, as the sun rose and flooded the room. Then we did crunches and went for mexican food.

In the night we attend ridiculous parties where the Jack Daniels runs free like the ocean and Frank Sinatra Junior serenades us, and we play our songs and chicks dance provocatively and excitedly to them and we write hit records over the top of whatever else is playing. In the day we execute those hits, and stroll down the boulevard looking for ridonculous sunglasses and tacos and comic books. Charlotte has been spending happy hours between feeds working down by The Roosevelt pool, sipping gin and tonics in the sun while VAs compile her XL spreadsheets. She’s never been to California before, but I knew she’d love it. She is radiant.

I ran into Killa Kella earlier, because I always run into Killa Kella when I’m LA, whether its at the airport or outside Meltdown Comics looking at a photo of Grant Morrison taken by a guy I met at Grant Morrison’s house who’s taking me Go Carting next week. Everything is synch on top of synch, Walking With Allah, as Malcolm X would have it, and I’d completely forgotten till Charlotte mentioned it earlier that I was signing autographs in the Shuttle cab from the airport, and if that’s not a sign that one is the place one is supposed to be as an international rap superhero then I know not what is.

Tonight Wade’s babysitting, and Mamma Don and I are gonna go to the cinema, like young lovers. Tomorrow we’re all gonna drive out to the desert and find some legendary abandoned town that got ghosted when LA stole all its water. On Christmas Eve we return to the UK, where Hercules will join the statistics as one of the UK’s 50,000 homeless, but we’ll worry about that later. “Oh everything’s gonna be OK, nega eobseodo,” in the words of Herc’s favourite song. “Everything’s gonna be OK, jalsarabwa.”

RIP DON STUDIOS!

— Saturday, November 16th, 2013

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

HOLY SHIT DUDE!

IT’S WHITE WITCHES!

That’s my longtime buddy and collaborator Jeremy “Jeres” Allen and former Pink Grease bandleader Rory Lewarne and a couple of other fine chaps making a very fucking visceral glamwave racket on their debut release SECRET CLUB, with the emphasis on RACKET, and CLUB, in a Baseball Furies if they never dropped the ball dealing out savage physical justice sort of a fashion.

Secret Club is out on on my Living In The Future label, which basically means I helped them formulate a release plan and had it distributed digitally by my Networks and hooked them up with frequent ATD collaborator Aaron Shrimpton who directed the video… which is actually pretty amazing considering all the eviction and aviation that’s been happening round here lately (yes we landed in LA safe and sound thanks, it is sunny and joyous and Hercules loves it, more soon)…

ANYWAY! I suggest you watch that aforementioned video, as previewed earlier on Dazed, as it is glorious and beautiful and hard like knives in the eyeballs, then I suggest you listen to the EP, and perhaps buy it, via their Bandcamp, or iTunes or one of those sorts of places. Then when people ask you what non-rap music you’re listening to, you can scream WHITE FUCKING WITCHES BITCH, and be the coolest cat on the block.

Amen.

WHITE WITCHES!

— Thursday, November 14th, 2013