Fatboy’s Cream of the crop (21 Aug 2008)

Richard Hector-Jones 21/ 8/2008

AUGUST Bank Holiday is that time of the year when a large proportion of Manchester’s party people make their annual pilgrimage down the M56 to the Creamfields festival, this year celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Over the years the festival has evolved from the north west’s premier open air dance party to take in indie, dance, rock, disco, techno and even hip-hop.

It’s possibly for this reason that a certain genre-hopping Fatboy Slim is making another welcome return to Halton for a speaker-busting set that will no doubt position him – for the umpteenth time – as Festival King, smiting all comers with his brand of biggest beat party anthems.

"I have a lot of good memories of Creamfields over the years," says Norman Cook exclusively to City Life.

"The one that springs to mind now, however, is just daft. I remember being slotted to DJ after The Gorillaz in one of the tents a few years back and heading towards the stage to make sure I was in good time for the end of their set.

"Of course, The Gorillaz were playing behind a huge screen as part of the show so no one could see what they were doing. I’d finished producing the Blur album at the time and was good friends with Damon (Albarn) so thought it would be fine to go and have a look what they were doing behind the screen.

How wrong I was. Next thing I know I’m being thrown off the stage in front of a tent full of people by bouncers with me shouting rather stupidly, ‘but I’ve just worked on the Blur album…’"

Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, doesn’t do things by halves. The phrase `big room clubbing’ is too small for him.

Rather, he tends to cherry-pick his dates by city of the world and then plays to a large percentage of that city. Whether the beach parties of his hometown Brighton, where he lives with partner Zoe Ball, or Copacabana beach in Rio De Janiero, he likes to define the party in broad strokes that appeal to the sway of the masses.

Hawaiian shirt

"I couldn’t get away with just putting on a bad Hawaiian shirt and playing some records," he laughs. "There has to be more."

‘More’ recently included DJing off the back of an articulated lorry in Salvador to 4.4 million people. `More’ also included playing to a capacity crowd at `Rockness’ on the banks of Loch Ness.

This weekend it will feature a mainstage performance headlining above Pendulum, The Gossip and the rather excellent Simian Mobile Disco. He will, of course, triumph because that’s what he’s good at.


When not jetsetting, stopping traffic on a grand scale or headlining festivals, Norman still finds time to tuck himself in the studio to make the music which forms a significant part of his DJ sets.

None is more intriguing than his Brighton Port Authority moniker which sees him collaborating with a frankly bizarre selection of musical talents making some of his (and their) best new music in ages.

"I’ve done some music with Iggy Pop on one of the tracks," he says. "Also Jack Penate, David Byrne, Dizzee Rascal and Martha Wainwright, as well as Justin Robertson and Ashley Beedle.

"It’s a shadowy set-up that we revisit now and again. Truth be told I actually forgot I’d done it until recently when my engineer dug up the tapes in the studio and told me it was really good," he laughs. "But that’s typical of me."

This weekend, however, there’s no forgetting what he’s doing.

"Creamfields has a special place in my heart," he says. "I’ve known people like organiser James Barton for years and the crowd is always just perfect. It’s still one of my favourite things to do in the whole world."

source: manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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