Duncan Forsyth - Vigneron
Ladies and Gentlemen! Oh ... none here? Just the riff raff then. Tonight in the newly renovated Two Paddocks Virtual Dayglo Disco ("Visually toxic"--The Times) our first guest DJ who actually looks at home in this pleasingly garish environment most of us in Central Otago merely put on clothes in the morning ... here's a man who dresses up, each and every day!
Regular Dayglo punters will know, that here at HQ, we take our hats off to many other wineries, we love quite a few; but some we love more than others. Mt. Edward in Gibbston is one of those, and here is its Vigneron, dressed in an appalling flared powder blue suit with lapels as wide as a B-52, unseemly yellow crocodile boots, and a genuine Memphis string tie with Native American motif, worn on a dizzyingly embroidered Taiwanese shirt. Yes, it could only be the one of a kind Duncan Forsyth!
Raised in the salubrious Hutt Valley, barely educated in Nelson, trashed at Vic, munted in New Orleans, obliterated in Sun Valley, demolished at Lincoln, Duncan, by great good fortune, found rehabilitation and sweet reason at last at Chard Farm in the early Nineties, and thereafter at Peregrine. Which lead to Mount Edward in 2004, which has become one of the very best Central wineries. The fall and rise of the Prodigal.
Occasionally, however, Duncan will revert to type, as his DJ set proves -- every year Duncan chances his health and sanity (such as he has left) with a pilgrimage to the madness that is Burning Man. Rash and extremely ill advised, yes, but at least when he gets back, bedraggled and rueful, he has good stories to tell. And here's one...
Denizens of the Dayglo ... avert your eyes if you are easily offended by kitsch on a grown man, but in any case, a huge Two Paddocks welcome to our friend and colleague, an awfully funny man, and awesome winemaker, and our ambassador at large, god help us ... The one and only ... Duncan Forsyth!!
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My TP top ten list comes on the back of a return visit to one of the great counter culture festivals on the planet, Burning Man, based in Black Rock City, Nevada.
Top 10 Tunes
Baltimore - Nina SimoneIt is in this high alpine desert two hours out of Reno, that a mass of humanity appears out of nowhere. We're greeted by tutu clad elves, steam punked desert warriors
Who Is He and What Is He to You - Bill WithersHere we listen to a killer re-edit of one Bill Withers best tracks from a long time favorite DJ, Left Side Wobble. A smoking soulful track that gets just a little dirty.
Space Shuttle - Gil Scott-HeronOur camp - The Crown Collective is a superb group of new and old friends based out of New Orleans but includes folk from all around the US and the globe. Aside from ourselves, perhaps our most visible contribution to the festival: hosting the Lady Sassafras a replica New Orleans paddle ship steamer built with salvaged parts of Hurricane Katrina. The Lady is just one of hundreds of
Mos Scocious - Dr. JohnAnother re-edit from Left Side Wobble this time a track from the great late Gil Scott- Heron a superb mix that mixes the poetic hip hop and spoken word delivery of GSH with some House samples behind it all.
Sugar (Gimme Some) - Trick Daddy ft LudacrisThe Lady Sassafras provided our camp with a means of entertainment and transport, but moreover was designed to provide other
All The Way Down - Esther PhillipsA New Orleans stalwart the legendary Dr. John with some pure NOLA sounds
Tell Me - Norah Jones, Temple of Soul re-mixThe festival runs for a week 24 hrs a day - although many burners work all year on their projects giving the festival a life if its own over the whole year. Our own art car, the Lady, took 2 years to build and involved dozens of people. This sort of commitment is mirrored across hundreds of art pieces, interactive bars and clubs of all description, venues that fitted a couple of people to several thousand in size, performances, art cars and outfits. Next a change of pace with an excellent piece of almost old school hip hop
Papa Was a Rolling Stone - The PioneersAt the other end of the spectrum is without question the wild parties that can dominant the pursuits of many. No boundary of possibilities here with the driver being that almost everybody is so goddamm friendly, fun and social you just have to decide where your limits are! The surprise for many is that you will find a complete cross section in ages, inclinations and ideas, this is no one-size-fits-all festival. In our camp, for example, ages ranged from 19 to 64 with our neighbours coming for the first time on their 70th birthdays!
James Brown - SunnyFestival tradition dictates that many installations get burned at the end of the week, mirroring the transitory nature of the event as well as re-enforcing the idea that the art is made for those who are there and it is purely non-commercial. This makes it even more surreal. For a moment it is there. Then it is gone. A yearly highlight is the Temple a spiritual home for many. This year's temple was in part coordinated and built by a bunch of Kiwis. Some had dedicated six months to the project it burnt on the Sunday night to near total silence in front of 30,000 people
State Trooper - Bruce SpringsteenA jazzed out Balearic house tune with some killer vocals pure summer daze Wax Poetic featuring Norah Jones
Duncan! What a saga ... and here you are, in one piece and not just still standing, but actually still doing the Boogaloo like a man possessed. Respect! No-one has ever taken on their DJ responsibilities with such flare, conscientiousness and such flagrant disregard for their own safety and well being. Major kudos from all of us here at H.Q.
Speaking of health, many of you will be aware that Mount Edward produces consistently great Pinots, and a Riesling that is pretty much ambrosia. Seek them both out when you can. Give that dancing, burning man some space, and applause not only for his inimitable flair for fashion, but for moves never before seen in the Dayglo. A massive Two Paddocks hand for our friend... Duncan Forsyth!