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Jon Cook

Jon Cook

Jon is a proud Brummie with a life-long obsession with Bristol. He’s at his happiest when stood in front of a massive speaker stack, nodding his head. Follow him on Twitter at @jontrap

Articles (35)

The 50 best ’90s songs

The 50 best ’90s songs

No decade is a musical monolith, but seeing the best songs of the ‘90s listed all in one place, the era seems especially scattered. History has boiled it down to grunge and gangsta rap on one end, boy bands and Britney Spears at the other, but it’s the stuff in the middle and on the fringes that makes the period difficult to sum up.  In England, Oasis and the rest of the Britpop lot left nearly as big a mark as Nirvana and the other Seattleites. Hip-hop took over the world, and seemed to change shape every few months. Remember when electronica looked like the future? Where do mischief makers like Pavement, Beastie Boys and A Tribe Called Quest fit in? And that’s to say nothing of the totally random ska and swing revivals…although that’s all you’ll hear about it here.  Given the crowded field, we’ve been ultra-selective in compiling this all-bangers, no-clangers playlist and limited it to one song per artist. Whether the ‘90s was the greatest decade for music is mostly a generational debate, but as you’ll hear, one thing’s for sure: it was never boring. RECOMMENDED:📸 The best album covers of the ’90s🎶 The best ’80s songs🎵 The best songs of the 2000s💃 The best Beyoncé songs🎤 The best Kanye West songs🎞 The best music videos of all time🌱 The best jungle tracks

The 21 best things to do in Phuket

The 21 best things to do in Phuket

Thailand’s largest island has been a popular tourist destination for decades, but what exactly are the best things to do in Phuket? We’re glad you asked because that gives us a solid excuse to delve deep into the history and culture of the place, not to mention the incredible nature and the unbeatable restaurant scene. Phuket sparkles in the day and comes alive at night, a 24/7 destination with endless entertainment and some of the best resorts in an area of the world where great resorts are ten a penny. What are the best things to do in Phuket? Let’s get into it. 

The 20 best jungle tracks ever

The 20 best jungle tracks ever

We got our Stussy tees on and rewound to the most innovative UK music scene of the early ’90s: jungle. Recommended: The best songs ever

The 20 best things to do in Bristol

The 20 best things to do in Bristol

It’s very easy to spend a good week pottering through Bristol’s vastly contrasting neighbourhoods. All locals have their own strongly held views on the best stuff to see, hear and taste in Bristol – meaning that even if you’re stumped on where your next stop should be, you can always ask whoever you end up sitting next to at the pub, coffee shop or art gallery. However, with such a wealth of options, it doesn’t hurt to go in with a plan. Here are 20 totally brilliant things to do in Bristol next time you’re in town.

The ten best things to do in Phuket

The ten best things to do in Phuket

Phuket is many things to many people, and as a result it’s also overflowing with things to do. This means it can be tricky trying to track down the best of what’s on offer, but fear not, as we’ve handpicked ten awesome places and activities so that you don’t have to do the hard work. From eating and drinking to sightseeing to wellness to partying, we’ve got you covered with our selection.

The 9 best Birmingham gay bars and clubs

The 9 best Birmingham gay bars and clubs

When it comes to Birmingham gay bars and clubs, minds naturally wander to the growing scene centred around the Gay Village in Southside. Encompassing the Nightingale Club (still a top-rated destination in town) and the Windmill bar in the 1970s, the area has now expanded to include venues of all sorts – from cabaret clubs to cocktail bars and different kinds of shops. Many credit the growth and expansion of the neighbourhood to the Sexual Offences Act of 1967, which partially decriminalised gay sex.  But look past the Gay Village and find a slew of LGBT-friendly destinations that serve the city with pride. From Sidewalk, a 1930s car showroom turned club, to The Loft Lounge, a decadent bar ideal for a fun pregame, most of these hotspots are the stuff of legend – we wouldn’t be surprised to find entire exhibits dedicated to them at the city's top museums. 

Nightlife in Pattaya: 9 best places to go to

Nightlife in Pattaya: 9 best places to go to

Located less than couple of hours’ drive from Bangkok, the sunny seaside town of Pattaya has hundreds of hotels, resorts, shops, things to do and entertainment options to keep its eight million annual visitors busy—but it's the notoriously raucous nightlife in Pattaya that the city is probably best-known for.  There’s no getting around it: sex is big business here. However, there’s much more to modern Pattaya than go-go bars, massage parlours and ping-pong shows. These days, there are plenty of great live music spots, chic bars and world-class clubs balancing out the less salubrious aspects of life after dark in one of Thailand’s most visited cities.

Nightlife in Phuket

Nightlife in Phuket

Nightlife in Phuket is a reason to book your travel all on its own; the island isn’t just famed for its beautiful beaches, world-class hotels, fantastic food and endless things to do. From wonderfully tacky, neon-clad go-go bars, super-scaled glitzy nightclubs and epic Vegas-style cabaret shows to classy cocktail-serving beach clubs, wooden reggae shacks and intimate live music venues, Phuket really does have it all. So however you like to let loose after dark, there should be something in this selection of Phuket’s best nightlife to make sure you get the most out of your stay on Thailand’s largest island.

Where to stay in Phuket

Where to stay in Phuket

Thailand’s largest island and has been welcoming tourists for decades, which means there’s a dizzying range of options when deciding where to stay in Phuket. With dozens of paradise beaches boasting super soft sand, calm blue waters and their own selection of hotels and things to do, you can be sure that no matter how big your budget, there’s an area of this beautiful island that’s right for you. Here we run down the five best areas to stay in Phuket, from the raucous nightlife playground of Patong to the luxurious beach clubs of Bangtao and the historic colonial architecture of Phuket Town.

Novelist: ‘London gives you an accepting heart’

Novelist: ‘London gives you an accepting heart’

Novelist is stretched out in the corner of legendary north-west London recording studio Abbey Road. ‘I remember, in college, being told about Abbey Road,’ he tells me. ‘The way it was spoken about, it was like this sacred place where you couldn’t go. I said to my teacher, “I’m gonna be there.” And here I am.’ The 21-year-old grime artist from Brockley has spent a lot of time here recently, recording his self-produced, self-released debut album ‘Novelist Guy’. It’s a record that fans have been waiting for since he broke on to the scene at the age of 16. Even if you don’t know much about grime, it’s an album to get excited about. The slow career pace is deliberate. Novelist has spent the last five years guesting on big records (including Skepta’s multi-award-winning ‘Konnichiwa’), learning to produce and growing into one of the most honest, thoughtful and credible voices in the UK. As a teenager he was deputy young mayor for Lewisham and, while he says his approach to politics has softened since he laid into David Cameron on the track ‘Street Politician’ a couple of years ago, he’s still a powerful and positive voice in a generation that’s becoming increasingly politically active. He even wrote an essay endorsing Jeremy Corbyn before last year’s general election. It’s clear the artist – nominated for a Mobo at 17 – is a force to be reckoned with and wise beyond his years. He looks set to follow in Dizzee Rascal, Skepta and Stormzy’s footsteps: the next grime MC to become a hous

Chase & Status: 'Chart positions don’t matter'

Chase & Status: 'Chart positions don’t matter'

London duo Chase & Status have been producing rave-razing, chart-troubling electronic music for almost a decade. From their roots as DJs in the drum ’n’ bass underground, to taking their live shows around the world and producing music for the likes of Rihanna and Rita Ora, the pairing of Saul Milton and Will Kennard have consistently broken new ground for the unapologetically bass-driven, street-level sounds they adore. Ahead of a huge Ally Pally show on November 26, in support of their forthcoming fourth album, we met the duo to talk real friends, setting up their very own free school and what still gets them out of the house on a dark Saturday night in November… How have things changed for you both since your debut back in 2008?Saul ‘Well we’re both married now – and I’ve got a seven-month-old daughter as well – but we’re as ambitious as ever. When you have a family, a mortgage, dogs, you get real responsibility. You don’t take your foot off the gas, you put it down harder if anything, because there’s more pressure to succeed.’Will ‘When you get into family life, you realise just how antisocial this job can be. We used to stay up all night in the studio or gigs, and sleep all day. But that doesn’t work when you have a family. It can be difficult when you’re leaving the house at 10pm just as they’re settling in. But it’s necessary: you can’t cut yourself off from the world that you make music for.’ As successful blokes in your mid-thirties, do you you still feel connected to

How Croatian festivals nail a good boat party

How Croatian festivals nail a good boat party

RECOMMENDED: Your definitive guide to this year's music festivals Croatia does a lot of things well when it comes to festivals. The sound systems blast out at levels that would have your local council in fits, the beer is cheap and the sun nearly always shines.  Best of all are the boat parties that have become an essential and unforgettable part of any Croatian festival experience, not just for us punters, but for DJs and promoters, too.  The formula is simple: gather together some heavyweight speakers, a handful of DJs and a couple of hundred party people. Then stick them on a boat (with a bar, of course) and set off towards the horizon for a party that everyone on board has no choice but to join.  As Dave Harvey – director at Love International (which takes over from Garden festival this year) – explains: ‘It’s a captive audience: once you’re on the boat, you’re not going anywhere for four hours. It’s very rare these days to have so many people in one confined space. It’s not like in a club, where people go off to have a fag outside; the energy is very contained. You’ve got to work pretty hard not to have a great time!’  Musically, anything goes on a boat. Want to hear a DJ drop Roachford’s ‘Cuddly Toy’ to a crowd of grime-heads at Outlook festival? You can on a boat party (and yes, we’ve witnessed this). How about watching the sun slink away as the music switches from house music to mellow pop? Yep, that’s happened too: ‘I don’t think I’ll ever forget DJing on the Futureb

Listings and reviews (1)

American Street Food Feast

American Street Food Feast

Birmingham street food specialists Taste & Liquor celebrate their first birthday on Saturday July 16 with a special American themed event that marks the start of a new residency at Digbeth's LAB 11 complex. Kicking off at midday and running until 7pm, head down to feast on a variety of American inspired streetfood, from gourmet hotdogs and cheesey fries, to tacos, fried chicken and ice cream milkshakes. As well as great food and drink, there's music from cutting edge DJs, plus 80s karaoke and retro games to keep you busy when you're not eating. The new Taste & Liquor residency at Lab 11 will then take place on the last Saturday of every month throughout the summer - check the T&L Facebook page for more info and regular updates.

News (136)

15 signs you were on the Birmingham club scene in the ‘90s

15 signs you were on the Birmingham club scene in the ‘90s

They say if you remember the 1960s, you weren't really there. The same could be said for the rave and club culture-dominated 1990s, though. It was a time when the open-air rave explosion of the late-1980s came indoors and promoters were forced to play by the new rules imposed by 1994's Criminal Justice Act. However, luckily for those of us in Brum at the time, there were more than enough previously disused old venues and long-lost discotheques to ensure we Brummies could keep the spirit of rave going strong, week in week out, in some truly unique venues. Time Out's Mark O'Donnell and Jonathan Cook take a loving look back at some of Birmingham's most memorable and important raves, club nights, venues, promoters and tunes, from Atomic Jam, Sundissential and Flashback, to Miss Moneypenny's, Bakers and House of God... 1. You stomped until dawn at Atomic Jam Attending Atomic Jam at the Q Club was as revelatory an experience as you could get in Brum during the ‘90s. Thousands of sweaty ravers descended on the former Methodist church, filling the enormous main room with a very different kind of evangelical atmosphere to that found here during its previous incarnation. It was still a place of worship, albeit at the altar of rave. All of the biggest names in techno came to pummel the crowd into a wooping, delirious mess, but you could also get your kicks in the bar, where the likes of Doc Scott dropped darkside drum and bass, or simply lose yourself in the many nooks, crannies and sta

Ten brilliant things to do in Birmingham this week

Ten brilliant things to do in Birmingham this week

There's plenty to do this week in Brum –  from St Patrick's Day parade to a one-man Breaking Bad parody, and the usual pick of first class exhibitions, gigs and films...   Pharaohe Monch, The Oobleck, Thu March 12, £15This modern hip hop great – one half of '90s underground legends Organized Konfusion and spitter of intricate, eloquent rhymes ­– tours in support of acclaimed 2014 album ‘PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder’.   Idlewild, The Institute, Tue March 10, £20The former fizzed-up indie-punkers showcase a more mature sound nowadays – one softer around the edges and more in thrall to jangle-era REM. But whatever their approach, Roddy Woomble and the boys are always great value live.   St Patrick’s Day Parade, Digbeth, Sun March 15Drums, bagpipes and a sea of green jesters hats ­– the core elements of the ever-popular Digbeth St Patrick’s Day parade, where this year the theme is Irish contribution to Birmingham’s development.   Soldier Stories: Birmingham and the Royal Warwickshire Regiment 1914 – 1918, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Until Sun July 26A moving exhibition that tells the stories of the men of Birmingham who served in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment during World War I. Free to enter.   Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, Birmingham Rep, Mon March 9 to Sat March 14, £12,50-£35What ho! Peep Show star Robert Webb stars as hapless toff Bertie Wooster in this acclaimed adaptation of comic author PG Wodehouse’s work. It’s in town for one week only so catc

Pay tribute to reggae icon DJ Derek and... MiniDiscs

Pay tribute to reggae icon DJ Derek and... MiniDiscs

If you’ve not yet made it down to Spiritland – the King’s Cross café, bar, studio and shop built around an impossibly high-end sound system – this very special Sunday evening session should be all the excuse you need. From 5pm till late, reggae selector Count Skylarkin will be playing and talking through the MiniDiscs left to him by his good friend, the truly legendary DJ Derek who passed away in 2015, aged 73. MiniDiscs? Yes, MiniDiscs. In the late ’90s, Derek transferred his lovingly compiled, decades-old vinyl collection of reggae, ska, dub, soul and jive to the now-defunct format, back when it was being promoted as the future of music. Derek sold his records and, from that day, he would turn up at his gigs across the UK and Europe, as well as his home city of Bristol, with a box of hand-labelled MiniDiscs, ready to shell the dancefloor. Unfortunately, Derek backed the wrong horse and it wasn’t long before MiniDiscs went the way of Betamax and LaserDiscs – straight into landfill, basically. But Derek persisted and, although the strange format didn’t affect his shrewd choices, inimitable on-mic patter and ability to tear up pretty much any crowd, it made him a glorious anomaly in the vinyl-obsessed world of reggae and sound system music. So, while Derek has moved on to the big reggae dance in the sky, his music and MiniDisc collection live on in the careful hands of Count Skylarkin and the bi-monthly Derek’s Island Discs sessions at Spiritland. Head down from 5pm this Sun

13 inspiring images of Manchester coming together at last night's vigil

13 inspiring images of Manchester coming together at last night's vigil

A post shared by Dalia (@foreign.aesthetic) on May 23, 2017 at 3:10pm PDT Yesterday evening, thousands of people came together to stand united in remembrance of those that died during the atrocity at Manchester Arena on Monday night. It was an opportunity for everyone in the city to show solidarity with the victims and their friends and families, and to show the world that this great city and the hundreds of thousands who live here will not be divided or broken by the diabolic acts of one or two. Here are 13 images taken by the people that were there, showing Manchester united in not just grief, but solidarity.   #manchester #vigil #manchestervigil A post shared by Ste Nightingale (@stemanc84) on May 24, 2017 at 12:02am PDT Manchester #manchester #manchestervigil #manchesterbombing2017 #manchesterbombing #staystrong #lettherebelove A post shared by Nicola Lily Lowe (@niclilylowe) on May 23, 2017 at 11:50pm PDT "Some are born here, some are drawn here but all call it home"- Tony Walsh this line will probably echo through me for the next few days, it perfectly summed up my thoughts up as I walked to the #vigil And encapsulates this image and the epic-ness of these guys. thank you for showing up and helping us show those "losers" that this is our #manchester A post shared by Sam Luk (@samluk.uk) on May 23, 2017 at 2:16pm PDT Solidarity is our stre

A vigil will be held in Albert Square tonight for the victims of last night's terror attack

A vigil will be held in Albert Square tonight for the victims of last night's terror attack

After the horrific attack at Manchester Arena last night, Mayor Andy Burnham has announced that a vigil will be held in Albert Square outside the Town Hall from 6pm this evening, Tuesday May 23. The vigil will give Mancunians the opportunity to stand together and show solidarity with all those affected by last night's events. Everyone is welcome to attend and show support for the victims, their families and the city as a whole. More details about tonight's vigil will be released throughout the day, so keep an eye on the Manchester City Council Facebook page for further information. Books of condolences are now open at Manchester Town Hall and online at www.manchester.gov.uk for those wishing to sign their respects.   Tonight's vigil starts at 6pm, Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square, M2 5DB  

The godfather of Bristol graffiti curates his first-ever show

The godfather of Bristol graffiti curates his first-ever show

  Bristol graffiti champions Upfest have announced that the first-ever curated exhibition by John Nation will take place in their Bedminster gallery  from April 28 to May 12. John is a man whose passionate dedication to Bristol's world-renowned graffiti movement over the last 30 years has earned him the unofficial, but indisputably deserved, title as the 'godfather' of the city's street art scene and culture. One of the art-form's key exponents in the UK during its early years in the 1980s, John worked at the now legendary Barton Hill youth centre, where he encouraged local teens to take up the then fledgling discipline of painting with spray cans that was then exploding out of NYC.  These young lads would grow up to become some of street art's biggest and most respected talents - Jody, Inkie, Cheo and, of course, Banksy all honed their talents on the walls at Barton Hill. These days, John leads street art tours for Where The Wall, giving curious locals and Banksy-tourists alike a proper education in the art of graffiti in the city. Of the exhibition, he says:  "Bristol is a massive city for arts whether its art, music, theatre or street art. The main purpose of the show is to celebrate and appreciate all the diverse artists that came from Bristol who have helped make the graffiti and street art scene what it is today. This is a collection that highlights the artists who have produced some inspiring and genre pushing art over the years.” To find out more about the full list o

Get balls deep at the UK's biggest adult ball pool

Get balls deep at the UK's biggest adult ball pool

  The largest adults-only ball pool in the UK is coming back to Manchester for May Bank Holiday weekend, following a sold-out event on the same site last October. More than 120,000 balls, plus plenty of adult-sized inflatables, will be crammed into the Pumpyard at The Printworks from Friday April 28 to Monday May 1, creating a big kids' playground in the centre of Manchester. Open from 10am to 10pm, with 30 minute sessions running throughout the day, tickets cost £8 - advance purchase is recommended, as tickets sold out in 36 hours last time the ball pit was in town.   www.ballmaniamcr.co.uk  

Bristol radio station to host massive Easter fundraiser party at Motion

Bristol radio station to host massive Easter fundraiser party at Motion

After successfully proving its worth with a temporary broadcasting license last summer, Bristol's SWU.FM and its star-studded roster of DJs are making plans for a return later this year, kicking off with a huge five-room fundraiser party at Motion on Easter Sunday April 16. In January, with re-developers knocking at the door, the station was forced to leave its lovingly constructed studios above Big Chill and found itself suddenly homeless, just as plans for its return were starting to take shape. This enormous party featuring loads of Bristol's incredible musical talent will, hopefully, help fund a new studio and get the station back on air as soon as possible. The line-up reflects the huge variety of sounds and talent, both old and new, that SWU is dedicated to pushing - from bonafide legends like jungle/D&B veterans Roni Size and Krust and dubstep originator Pinch, to local heroes such as Jakes, Stryda and Laid Blak, to red-hot fresh talent including D&B innovator Sam Binga and grime collective Bandulu Gang. You can grab tickets and check the full line-up for the party on the Motion, SWU and Underground Tickets websites.  www.swu.fm  

Hidden Door festival to revive abandoned old Leith Theatre

Hidden Door festival to revive abandoned old Leith Theatre

Hidden Door festival returns to Edinburgh at the end of May for ten days and nights of theatre, music, art, spoken word and film in the rooms, corridors and stunning main auditorium of the abandoned old Leith Theatre. This non-profit, 100% volunteer run multi-arts festival aims not just to provide a diverse program of events and performances from some Scotland's (and beyond!) best creative talent, but also provide the spark to return this wonderful old art deco building to life as a functioning new arts venue for the city. Musical highlights include performances from Scottish indie heroes Idlewild and Scottish Album of the Year award winner Anna Meredith, while the theatre offering includes a brand new work in progress from the Grid Iron theatre company and Andrew Simpsons frighteningly delightful 'Party Shrimp'. Meanwhile, over 20 different artists have been selected from an open call to exhibit at the festival, alongside 11 specially invited visual creators. Completing things is a solid film programme, with guest curators including Edinburgh Short Film Festival and Kino Club. The festival is free to explore every day until 6pm, with evening events ticketed (available from the Hidden Doors website). For full details of this year's programme and tickets for evening events, head over to the Hidden Door website.   Hidden Door Festival, Leith Theatre, May 26 - June 4. www.hiddendoorblog.org

Manchester International Festival announces program for 2017

Manchester International Festival announces program for 2017

Every two years, Manchester International Festival gives this already culturally booming city a healthy boost with an 18-day program of world-beating music, theatre and visual arts. This year's MIF runs from Thursday June 29 until Sunday July 16, taking place, as ever, at iconic venues and pop-up spaces across town and featuring unique concerts, world premiers and very special one-off events. The program for this year's festival has just been announced. Theatrical highlights include the Jane Horrocks starring 'Cotton Panic' and renowned Berlin director Thomas Ostermeier's (pictured) 'Return To Reims'. Visual art wise, Turner Prize nominated artist Phil Collins brings a giant statue of radical thinker Friedrich Engels to the centre of town and the True Faith exhibition looks at the ongoing significance and influence of New Order and Joy Division in the world of art. Plus, there's live music from Arcade Fire, Bonobo, Sampha and Kojey Radical and many, many more. For full details of this year's program, head over to the MIF17 site.   For more culture, take a look at upcoming theatre shows in Manchester. 

Ten anthems from ten years of Hit & Run

Ten anthems from ten years of Hit & Run

Marking an incredible ten years in the game, Manchester's finest party starters Hit & Run have just hosted the first part of their tenth-birthday double-header and part two is coming up on Friday March 10 at Hidden. Over the years, hundreds of acts have played at Hit & Run, from local heroes and breaking talent, to bonafide bass music superstars. Over the next couple of weekends some of the biggest and best guests from the last ten years will be blessing the decks to help the Hit & Run family celebrate in style. Calibre, Sam Binga, Dub Phizix, Kahn, Chimpo and loads more will all be stopping by, with Friday March 10 an all back-to-back special, with some very special sets lined up. To help mark the occasion, we caught up with Hit & Run founder/resident Rich Reason and asked him to run us through ten of the biggest tracks from the last ten years of parties. Read on for a modern history lesson in bass, Manchester style...   Von D – 'Show Me' 'This always reminds me of the Area 51 era; dubstep was becoming harder and darker under the influence of the infamous Caspa & Rusko FABRIC:LIVE mix, but at the same time other producers like Quest & Silkie, Ruckspin and Phaeleh started coming through with this deeper, more melodic sound. This epitomised that nascent sub-genre; French producer Von D marrying Rhodes chords with Dillinja bass stabs to sublime effect. We had a few very special nights with him DJing.'   Joker – 'Digidesign' 'A game-changing release on Kode 9's Hyperdub. I rem

Calling all massive and crew! We’ve found the greatest tube announcer on the Underground

Calling all massive and crew! We’ve found the greatest tube announcer on the Underground

The Underground is an amazing thing. But let’s be honest; riding a cramped tube train to and from work every day is one of the worst things about living in London. There’s not much to love about a commute that usually involves directly inhaling someone else’s breath as you cling to a greasy handrail in an effort to stop you and the rest of the carriage collapsing like dominos every time someone leans on a door and the train slams to a halt (seriously, guys, stop leaning on the doors).  But life as a regular tube user needn’t be so bad. As a video that emerged over the weekend of a patois-speaking tube announcer at Victoria station shows, life on the Underground can be less Hieronymus Bosch, more Peter Tosh.   // (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_GB/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.8"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); // When soundsystem culture is in your blood!!! Posted by Royal Marx Soundsystem on Thursday, 2 February 2017 Introduced only as 'my bredrin Karl' by the guy filming at the video’s start, within seconds the announcer is reeling off Caribbean patois like he’s toasting the mic for Channel One at Notting Hill Carnival. 'Yo my bredrin driver, you cool? Time to show the people some love you know.' 'Driver, bless up the massive, show them some love, stand clear! Me gotta get outta here.