HigterFrequency OVERSEAS NEWS


Paul Oakenfold

international news _ Jonty Skrufff _ 2nd June 2005

Oakey Braves Beirut

Paul Oakenfold is to play a 5 hour set in Beirut next month making his second trip to the infamous Middle Eastern hotspot.

The superstar trance icon last visited the Lebanon capital two years ago to spin at Tower Records though on this trip will be playing at the outdoor Beirut International Exhibition and Leisure Center at the Independance party, alongside US DJs Danny B and Sean Moraes.

Throughout most of the 80s and 90s, Beirut was a virtual no go zone for Western performers though in recent years it's become safe enough for the likes of the Prodigy, Paul Van Dyk and Robbie Rivera to visit. However, the country remains extremely volatile, with Lebanon's president being assassinated by a car bomb last year, just weeks before John Digweed flew out to spin. Despite the bombing, Digweed told Skrufff he loved the overall experience.

"You see so much on TV and you have a picture in your head on how its going to be, but it was an a amazing gig there and I had a great time," he said.

"When people come together for that kind of thing I think there's such an overwhelming desire to have a great night out that the sense of anticipation goes sky high. If you can raise your game to that level it makes for an awesome gig. I was very warmly received in Beirut," said John.

US jock Robbie Rivera, who DJ'd there in 2003 just before John Digweed (and the car bomb), was equally impressed, he told Skrufff (also last year).

"I know nothing bad has happened in Beirut for the last two years, but it's a Middle Eastern country, I'm an American and all my friends in the States were like "youčre fucking crazy playing there'," said Robbie. It was totally normal and the gig was amazing, "I'm dying to go back there," he added.

Before the civil war tore the country apart, Beirut was renowned for its nightlife and Western style decadence, attracting wealthy Arab playboys including Osama Bin Laden in the late 70's disco era.

"While in high school and college Osama visited Beirut often, frequenting flashy nightclubs, casinos, and bars," Yossef Bodansky's 2001 biography of the al Qaida leader claimed, "He was a drinker and womanizer, which often got him into bar brawls."

http://www.counterpunch.org/waite1.html (Justice or Revenge) By Terry Waite: 'I can recognise the conditions that prisoners are being kept in at the US camp at Guantanamo Bay because I have been there. Not to Cuba's Camp X-Ray, but to the darkened cell in Beirut that I occupied for five years. I was chained to a wall by my hands and feet; beaten on the soles of my feet with cable . . .') (Jonty Skrufff/Skrufff.com)

Related Link