Richard Moonboots

ACCORDING to Richard Moonboots’ MySpace profile, he is currently into:

“Balearic beats, Cricket, Scandinavian design, Barbour jackets, Liverpool FC, Fine wine, Sea food, the rather fine English countryside, Metro maps of the world, Beard growth, German orthopaedic footwear, Roberts radios, Moleskine notepads, Meat, Nordic crime literature, Cheesecake, Photography, Expensive socks, My daily Sudoku ..”

I interviewed Moonboots in July 2001 for the Big Issue in the North, just before the release of his mix for Phil Mison’s Soundcolors series, although I’d met him out and about a few years before that, and had been going to Aficionado, on and off, since the early days at Aqua.

Unfortunately, space constraints meant that the interview wasn’t a long one – though since our sub editor managed to insert another D into ‘Addidas’, perhaps that’s just as well. That wasn’t embarrassing at all. Oh no.

Tediously, I can’t find my original interview notes so I’ve added a review I did of Aficionado in January 2000.

I have bittersweet memories of this particular night because I was ‘on a break’ with a girl I was seeing at the time, went down to Zumbar and got bowled over by this beautiful Dutch siren. Unfortunately, I didn’t get her number. I never saw her there again. Hmmm.

* * *

“IT’S become a bit snooty, in a way,” muses Richard Moonboots (pictured), talking about the playlist for Aficionado, the Sunday session he runs with Jason Boardman in Manchester. “People always play the rarest records they’ve got – super-weird stuff that no one’s ever heard before. Doesn’t necessarily make them good records though ..”

So why make DJs who play re-issued records wear the offending sleeves on their heads?

“Well, they should go out and buy the proper one,” he says, like it’s the most obvious thing in the world. “I don’t understand why you would want to play a re-issued record in the first place. That’s the whole fun of playing records – you have to go and find them first.”

The whole fun of playing records? Really? I think he’s exaggerating for comic effect.

As one of the prime exponents of the Balearic sound pioneered by genre-bending DJs like Jose Padilla, where anything gets played, just as long as it’s got a groove, Moonboots probably spends more time than is healthy in dusty secondhand record emporiums.

He’s perversely proud of the fact that he’s never been to the White Island but the Portsmouth-born, Wigan-bred vintage Adidas enthusiast nevertheless found time to put together the latest Soundcolors compilation, following three volumes from his friend, Café del Mar resident Phil Mison.

A diverse selection of mellow house and lazy funk from the likes of Streetlife Originals and Shuggie Otis, Soundcolors 4 drifts by like a long, languid afternoon in the sun. It is the antithesis of the numerous trashy chill-out-by-numbers cash-ins currently cluttering up record shop shelves nationwide.

Similarly, the small but perfectly formed Aficionado is equally at odds with fashion, being a bastion of integrity, blurred vision and wobbly dancing on a day littered with ersatz imitations.

It’s getting a bit popular these days though, isn’t it? If something’s popular, doesn’t that mean it’s a bit suspect?

“It’s a weird one, because I wouldn’t ever want to put it in a club. It’s a bar thing,” he says, scartching the remains of a full-on Grizzly Adams-style mane. “If you can get 200 people in a bar, it looks great. If it gets really busy, we’ll just move it somewhere else. G-Mex maybe ..”

* * *

Name:
Aficionado

Venue:
Zumbar, Oxford Road, Manchester

Price:
There is no admission charge

Dress code:
Focussing on footwear, we find slingbacks, court shoes, pumps, plimsolls, boots and many varieties of fashionable trainers

Doorstaff:
Inconspicuous

Ease of entry:
Working out whether the door opens in or out is the most difficult bit

Promoter nonsense:
“It’s just a drunken disco really,” says superstar DJ and co-promoter Jason Boardman. “We’ve wanted to do something like this on a Sunday for years. The crowd varies from week to week. We put Scruff on and we get loads of people in ski hats coming down ..”

Number of obvious drug / alcohol casualties:
It depends where you sit. As luck would have it, I found myself at a table of hardened mentalists at the end of a long, lost weekend, but adjoining tables seemed perfectly civilised

Superstar DJs:
Co-promoters and residents Boardman and Richard Moonboots, plus chums from the Manchester circuit including Mr Scruff, Chris Jam and John McCready

Musical policy:
“Absolutely anything,” says Moonboots. “Anything funky from the last 40 years,” adds Boardman

Big tune of the moment:
Here Comes The Sun by George Harrison got the biggest cheer, by a long chalk

Atmosphere:
Zoned-out, bleary-eyed, giggly post-mortems of the weekend, punctuated by unsynchronised dancing, spontaneous syncopation and increasingly incoherent rambling non sequiturs. Often followed, inevitably perhaps, by foolhardy dancing on tables and falling over

Copping off potential:
It’s probably the wrong end of the weekend for any serious action, but you never know your luck. I met a lovely girl from Amsterdam named Gabriella. Sigh

Punter age range:
Eighteen to the wrong side of 50

Chill out/second room:
The whole place, essentially the bottom floor of Zumbar, is one big chill out room

Ladies:
“Three cubicles, two washbasins, one hand-dryer and a chair,” says my informant Karen. “I’m not sure what the chair is for ..”

Gents:
One of the two toilets is blocked. Still no working cold water taps

At the bar:
A bit pricey, but a pretty good range of cocktails. A sign above the bar threatens you with: “Red Bull and Champagne – £10” and “Banofi pie – £2”

Random overheard quote:
“It’s like it’s the national sport, stealing other people’s lighters ..”

The best thing about Aficionado:
It’s on a Sunday and everything is a bit more relaxed. The crowd are lovely and the music is great – andf the music is played on a genuine set of antique Citronic Avon II Performer double-decks. And the admission price, of course

The worst thing about Aficionado:
It’s on Sunday. And I spilled red wine all over my nice new trousers

Chance of a cab home:
You can enjoy the unique pleasure of the last bus home or catch one of the black cabs flying up and down Oxford Road

Overall impression:
It’s fantastic. And what else is there to do on a Sunday?

Marks out of 10:
“It goes all the way up to 11 ..”

Return visit:
Absolutely

[The interview was first published in the Big Issue in the North in July 2001 and the review in the same magazine in January 2000. There’s actually a lot better interview with Moonboots here, and also downloadable recent mixes here and here]

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