the Last Throw Of… The Fox


I really didn't think that there'd be another chapter in this fox story, and although this has been my intro for about the last three, you really must believe me this time.  I mean, why would there be another chapter?

Firstly, five chapters should really be enough about a stuffed animal (there's basically a book's worth of material in amongst this lot: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5), not to mention all the earlier shenanigans before the fox ended up in Russia, of me and Matt Tyson from Uber calling the bluff of Space Dimension Controller who thought it would be a wheeze to post up an ebay link on facebook saying "if anyone buys me this stuffed fox, I'll DJ for them for free".



Secondly, I had made repeated attempts to get rid of the fox – to get it back to the rightful owner, SDC.  Having been sponsored to go to Moscow one last time with the fox in January, by the boss of my all-time favourite record label, International Feel, to attempt to make a pop song, a film, to stage a kidnapping, and to do a parachute jump strapped to it, I think I'd had my fill.  

Although the mission ultimately failed, I was still pretty pleased that it culminated in me being ejected from The Kremlin by security, and the fox + me surviving a 4,000 metre skydive at minus eight degrees celsius, where, in pursuit of oxygen and in the absence of more advanced breathing apparatus, it looked like I was doing a nazi salute above Moscow.



I felt it really was time to move on.

But then fate played its hand, although as the rest of the story proves, fate can only do so much on its own.  So it turns out that in order to convert fate into a global taxidermy incident, you need to add the following ingredients to your badly stuffed fox:

1. Ignore fate completely, but then do completely the opposite
2. Calvin Harris' stance on Scottish Independence
3. Wykesy
4. Fatboy Slim

We'll start from the top.

1. Ignore fate completely, but then do completely the opposite
Turns out Space Dimension Controller is not a man to let fate get in the way.  Earlier this year I ended up living on a boat in London (just don't ask), and fate dictated the weekend I moved there that SDC would be DJing a matter of miles up the river in East London.



This was the chance.  Hand over the stuffed baton, and finally the story is over.  But no – not enough room in SDC's luggage apparently – and not the will to make room.  There'll always be a next time I guess.

Fate rolls the dice once more a couple of months later, as Space Dimension proceeds to randomly bump into my mate Paolo in Barcelona, and politely requests that he would like the fox back.  This was surely the end.  All I had to do was send an email going "ha ha, small world aye?  I hear you want foxy back.  So what's your address then?", which I duly did.  But no address was forthcoming.  

It may look from this like he couldn't give two shits about the fox, but actually he does – he had previously sent me messages about wanting it back, but correspondence with Jack (SDC) is often unreliable.  Had he got round to signing a contract I negotiated for him in Russia last year, he would be £4,000 richer today, but Jack been Jack, he wasn't all that bothered, just like he wasn't all that bothered that I took his fox around Russia and made a brief career for myself off the back of something that was apparently a gift… fair play to him.

2. Calvin Harris' stance on Scottish Independence
Well, do you know what his stance is?  When this appeared in my facebook feed, it seemed like a no brainer:



As a journalist, it is my job to find things out, so I swore I would do my damnedest.  But how do I get to Calvin Harris?  I'd only met him once, and that was as part of a large dinner table, where the only things we discussed were the pate starter and how the very same type of pate covertly but brilliantly re-emerged as part of the main course, underneath the steak; and also that Osama Bin Laden actually supported Arsenal (he refused to believe me, but to this day I stand by it as truth).  So I didn't think this was really enough traction to be going to his management with.    

My mate Ki did used to drive a minibus around Dumfries, with a young Calvin – on his way to stack shelves in Marks & Spencer – his shotgun.  But this was a long time ago.  Calvin's domestic situation has since moved on a bit from the Scottish Borders.  Getting warmer though.

Then, my eyes and ears, Amy, laid it all on a plate.  



On reflection, perhaps Amy deserved her own number heading as a global-taxidermy-incident ingredient, but we'll not let the injustice of that obscure the wider point, which was that this was the chance. This was the time to do the opposite of SDC, and embrace fate, and make something happen, but again… how?  Some progress had been made by the fact that Calvin Harris, having absolutely no idea of the back story of it, or indeed that he himself had got a mention in Chapter 2 when it all kicked off with the pate in St Petersburg, had tweeted a picture of the fox, taken in the Moscow Museum Of Erotica (where the fox was making a paid appearance, exhibited beneath a model of Vladimir Putin with his cock out).

So I baited him on twitter… "you are aware that the fox you are tweeting is actually in my bedroom in Preston?".  Just like Bin Laden's season ticket at Highbury, he laughed it off.  But this time I had proof.  Momentum was building.

3. Wykesy
So I get a call from Wykesy a couple of weeks later…
"Mike – I've just been speaking to Tyson (my original 50/50 partner in the purchase of the fox)"
"Well he wants me to pick up Fatboy Slim from Newcastle Airport on Saturday for the next Uber, and then the next morning take him to Creamfields… do you fancy coming for the craic?"
Wykesy had now become an essential pawn.

4. Fatboy Slim
As luck would have it (or maybe fate), when Fatboy was done with Uber in Carlisle he was to appear at Creamfields the next day on the same stage as Calvin Harris, and better still, he was playing the set before him.  This was now a plan.  To the untrained eye it might not be, but to my eye, as soon as it became apparent that Calvin Harris and Fatboy were going to be at Creamfields on the same day, I had this vision:
-We would blow Fatboy's mind with the fox story before dropping him off to his hotel near Creamfields… can't be many posh hotels in Warrington, and given they are from the same DJ agency, this would surely be the same hotel as Calvin's.
-Via Fatboy and his manager Alan (a vital wingman in all of this as it was to turn out), we would then find out which room Calvin was in, ambush him with the fox, and I would remind him of his recent social media activity, and that he didn't know who he was messing with.
-Laughter would ensue, so much so that we would all feel the need to retire to the lobby, where I would then pop the question about Scottish Independence.
-I would leave the tape running, and achieve Journalistic Nirvana: me, Calvin Harris, a badly stuffed fox, Fatboy Slim, and Wykesy, in a hotel, somewhere near Creamfields, discussing Scottish Independence.  Hunter S. Thompson never fucking achieved that.

As it turns out, neither did I.  I hadn't bargained for the impossibly down-to-earth Fatboy booking his own train, and that his hotel was actually in Manchester Airport.  No need for me to even be at Creamfields.  But even with the Scottish Independence debate off the agenda, I just couldn't let go of that original vision.  Something had to be done – I had to get Calvin.  

So Fatboy made it happen.  Before we had even reached Hexham, a plan had been hatched in the car for Fatboy to plant the fox inside Calvin's drinks fridge the next day, backstage at Creamfields.  Turned out his drinks fridge was too small, but other than that, the mission was completed, confirmed by Calvin's two tweets with the fox that night, and then in writing the following day by Fatboy himself:



This to me was a victory.  It wasn't quite the debate about Alex Salmond and the importance of north sea oil that I was hoping for (although Calvin, if you're reading, we still want to know), but when you get an email from Fatboy Slim about a stuffed fox entitled "Fox News", you've got to take the positives.  It was all worth it.  

Or was it?  

Things then took a bit of a dicey turn.  I had assured Space Dimension that despite being so publicly out of my hands, the fox was safe; that Alan and Fatboy were going to take it back to Brighton and look after it for a bit.  But it turned out they didn't have it.  And if they didn't have it, who on earth would?

Calvin?  Could he have taken it to LA?  That would be a big logistical problem, but would have been better than the stupidly-appropriate-but-very-unfair-on-SDC ending to the tale, that his fox was lost forever, and it was Fatboy Slim and Calvin Harris' fault.

I called out Calvin on twitter, but to no avail.  I then put a message out to my R$N superiors to begin the search and put some pressure on Calvin on twitter, but no response.  He was tweeting about other stuff.  Not good news.

Then I thought more direct action was needed, but who do you ask about the whereabouts of a stuffed fox?  I plumped for Calvin's manager in LA, and he said that they were told to leave it at Creamfields.

Oh God.  It could be anywhere.  I then had another vision – this time of an R$N-backed appeal for the safe return of the fox which would fail to find it, but would raise enough money for us to buy SDC a gift by way of apology.  I was beginning to feel a bit guilty.

It was all hands to the pump at Calvin Towers – they then set Cream away on their own search, and by the end of the working day, there was an email train with contributions from the MD of Cream (who had sent out an alert to his whole production team), and even more surprisingly, the top dog at Calvin and Fatboy's agency in London.

And fair play to the people of importance above, the fox was found!  It was with Calvin's UK tour manager in London, thank goodness.  It was Fatboy's tour manager who broke the news to me directly, but by then the wheels were already in motion for the fox hunt.  I arrived home from work to find an array of concerned emails.  As amusing as it would have been to watch these industry luminaries continue to run around LA, Liverpool and London in pursuit of a badly stuffed animal that they didn't even need to find any more, I had to put them out of their misery and tell them all was well – they'd been thoroughly good about it after all.

So as far as I'm concerned, this is the end.  But it really is this time.  The fox will be returned to SDC, and will take pride of place in his studio, as was originally planned before Fatboy Slim, Calvin Harris and the state of Russia got involved.  

I think the absurd significance of this particular stuffed animal is best summed up by the following – and it's not the fact that SDC ended up playing two DJ gigs in return for a stuffed fox; it's not that the fox was so big in Russia last year it was trending ahead of Gangnam Style; it's not the armed guards I needed to protect me and the fox from communist demonstrators; it's not the motion put forward in the Kremlin to ban me, the fox and the artist that stuffed the fox from Russia (who is actually a top quality artist by the name of Adele Morse by the way – the fox only looks so demented because it was tanned in a big hurry so as not to miss the deadline for a college assignment + its unfortunate original death in a badger trap); it's not the fact that one of the most influential figures in Balearic House purchased the copyright of the animal and sent me to Moscow to try and crack the charts with it – it is in fact summed up perfectly by the email I woke up to yesterday morning:



As much as the content rings true for anyone, if you've ever had to book a DJ in your life, just look at who sent that email.  Now join me in pondering how the hell a fox, who thought his life had ended years ago when it was caught in a badger trap in Epping Forest, managed to make it to the top of the industry. 

For fuck's sake.

Article: Mike Boorman (follow him on twitter)