It's 2.45am and I am pacing the backstage area at Sound Control in Manchester ahead of my last Elite Force show for the foreseeable future.
I'm nervous, and I never 'get' nervous. Not really. Not at all.
I've not enjoyed being here at all tonight, and whilst some of that has to do with the music I'm hearing across the venue, it's more from a sense of freefall, of termination, of loss. For many years now this has been a large chunk of my world, and now that I have made my decision to pursue fresh pastures in the worlds of Film, TV, and Techno / House Music, it's left me feeling bereft of that sense of 'belonging'. In the past, Breakspoll would be a chance to catch up with my peers, to chew the fat and engage in the mutual back-slapping that such an event entails.
This year, though, feels very different. There are only 3 Award winners who are present to collect their awards with many of the big hitters (understandably in many ways) opting for a payday in Spain. It seems that the higher end of the breaks scene remains ambivalent at best about standing squarely behind the music, and I'd be surprised to see Breakspoll back in 2016 (unless of course the mainstream media give it their 'blessing', in which case we'll see another massive branding revision!).
Many people within the breaks scene might argue that it's a scene that I've never really 'belonged' to because I've always had an open heart and open mind when it comes to music, and whilst I have occasionally played breaks-only sets (where the minds have been militantly closed to anything else) my sets have been eclectic since I first picked up a set of headphones in 1989. My first release on vinyl back in 1992 was a techno 12", and by the time I was running Fused & Bruised around 1997 my output was a mish-mash of Drum & Bass, Downtempo, Techno, and Breakbeat, but all with the beating heart of House Music somewhere at it's core. I'm proud of what I've accomplished musically over the years and am obviously excited about the future ... but ....
I'm nervous, and I never 'get' nervous.
Tonight I am, and I am nervous for what this signifies. This signifies change. This removes the safety and sanctity of what I've known for years. It may not end up being a Full Stop, but it sure feels like one tonight.
An hour later and it's finished. The set builds with a relentless intensity and it's a buzz to hear some of my own catalogue highlights (like 'Engine', 'Feed Your Head', and 'Harness The Nonsense') that I haven't played in years, aired at the close of play. My final track is my own Revamp of 'Bittersweet Symphony', and it couldn't be more apt ... not only because it is an anthem of the North, but because of this...