After last year's chaos, Norman Cook has decided not to repeat the event on Brighton Beach. Or anywhere else, for that matter...
FATBOY SLIM says the sun has set on his BIG BEACH BOUTIQUE for good, after the reality of how close last year’s event came to turning into a major tragedy hit home.
The Big Beach Boutique party last July drew a crowd of over a quarter of a million party-goers, after word spread of the previous year’s event, which attracted a more manageable 60,000.
“We were really lucky last time,” he told This Is Brighton magazine. “The more I think about it, the more I think it could have been another Hillsborough. If we’d had a crush situation, I would have had a nervous breakdown.
“I don’t think I would ever recover from something like that. We were a hair’s breadth away from a major incident, and I don’t think it’s worth risking it again.”
He also spoke of his feelings of guilt over the death of 26-year-old Australian nurse Karen Manders, who died after falling 20 feet from railings on the upper esplanade after the show. “A girl died last year and for a while I felt responsible. [People who don’t know me] don’t know what that took out of me emotionally. I don’t want to put anyone at risk. I don’t want to put the city at risk. I don’t want to see it in the mess it was after last year
“I know it’s unlike me to be sensible, but in this case I have to be. I’ve lived here for 21 years and I intend to live here for the rest of my life and I’m not prepared to have people hate me just for the sake of my ego, playing records and waving my arms in front of a big crowd of people.”
He said the same reasons applied to his decision not to push ahead with plans, voiced in tabloid newspapers towards the end of last year, to host the Big Beach Boutique on famous beaches around the world, from Brazil to Australia. “That’s not going to happen for exactly the same reasons, only worse. Putting the BBB on in my home town was difficult enough, let alone trying to put it on somewhere like Copacabana, which is one of the world’s most dangerous beaches. Just imagine the amount of muggings and crime! One of the reasons we got away with it in Brighton is because this is such a laidback, peaceful city. But the idea of doing it in volatile places…”
Coming in the week before the UK press was awash with stories that his marriage to DJ Zoe Ball is on the rocks, the interview also hinted at a more sober side of Fatboy Slim coming to the fore. “I’ve done a lot of growing up in the last month. It’s made me feel a lot more like Norman Cook than Fatboy Slim.” He added that he regretted not getting to spend more time at home in Brighton because of his DJ commitments, and preferred production work, which has recently seen him in the studio working on Blur‘s new album. “I want to cut down on my DJing this year. I want to spend more time at home with the family,” he said.