Words: Cyclone @ Onion
Electronic dance music’s natural habitat is the nightclub, rave or festival. But, fresh from his cameo in the Olympic Games closing ceremony, Brit DJ Fatboy Slim (AKA Norman Cook) is bringing his Big Beach Bootique to cinemas. And you’ll be raving in the aisles.
Originally the big beat pioneer planned to “document” the fifth of his famous Brighton parties (and first in the seaside resort’s new football stadium) exclusively for DVD. He shot the second of June’s two spectacles.
“It’s not the biggest crowd I’ve ever played to, but it’s the biggest production – all bells and whistles,” Cook says.
It was then suggested that his concert film would suit the big screen, amid surging demand for ‘event’ cinema. Cook’s cohorts the Chemical Brothers showed their Don’t Think in 600 theatres internationally. His is going to 800.
“But I suspect that next year the Swedish House Mafia will do it and they’ll be in 2000 screens world-wide,” he muses.
Fatboy Slim: Live From The Big Beach Bootique will show on one night only, Fri Aug 31, globally.
“The idea is that if we get everyone to watch it at once on the same night, we get some kind of vibe like it’s a gig. Obviously, it’s not the sort of film that you’d go to the Tuesday afternoon matinee of. The idea is to get everybody together at once, they maybe have a few drinks before they go in and you get as close to recreating the show as you can. I suppose it’s the nearest you can get without actually being there.”
Cook did have qualms about moving his festival, last held in 2008 on Brighton Beach, to Falmer Stadium (or The AMEX). Partygoers could be put off by the prospect of “a cattle shed”.
“But,” he says, “it’s such a beautiful stadium.”
The AMEX has superior facilities and, crucially, allows for greater crowd control.
“It was a lot more relaxed for me ’cause some of the ones on the beach I was throwing, I was shitting in my pants. There was one where a quarter of a million people turned up. The police were saying to me, ‘People will die tonight’. They said, ‘It won’t necessarily be your fault, but statistically you’ve got 250,000 drunk people on the streets – people are gonna die’… So compared to the ones I’d done on the beach, this one was a stroll in the park.”
The accidental pop star (and serial reinventor) just toured Australia with the Future Music Festival.
“I loved it – it was good. I hadn’t been to Australia for a while. It was a bit of overkill – I came five years running and I think maybe sort of wore out my welcome. So it was really nice to be back.”
Following 2006’s Greatest Hits, Why Try Harder, Cook stated that Fatboy was taking “a sabbatical”. The Southern Fried Records boss proffered an ambitious album as the Brighton Port Authority, with Iggy Pop as a guest. He also contributed to David Byrne’s musical (and concept album) Here Lies Love, about the Philippines’ Imelda Marcos, the anti-Evita raising its subject’s ire.
“I’m amazed that she didn’t have us bumped off,” Cook says, all seriousness.
Cook denies that Fatboy’s recent activity, including compilation releases, indicates an imminent studio comeback.
“I’m still very much in DJ mode, rather than making records mode.”
Promotional campaigns for albums are too binding – and strenuous. Cook prefers to be “a wandering minstrel”. Besides, the internet “can’t replace” a live DJ.
“You can experience the download, but you can’t download the experience.”
Fatboy Slim: Live From The Big Beach Bootique will screen at Hoyts Cinema, Tea Tree Plaza on Fri Aug 31 at 9.30pm