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we're happy: it's a fact.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to thee mighty Virtual Stoa. apparently Chris' blog is 3 years old today. or yesterday. i'm not sure what day it is. anyway, happy birthday. THREE YEARS! chris is a blogging vet. [as is veteran, not veterinary surgeon. that'd be wicked though]. he's been doing it for ages and he's still the best around. [if you've ever got an essay or some other work to do, go on virtual stoa and then you can be entertained and procrastinate about yr work but still pretend to yrself that you are technically working cuz yr still reading clever stuff about clever stuff. if you haven't already, try it, it's perfect and fun]




i think it's silverdollarcircle's first anniversary in the next few days so i'll post something to mark that. also coming soon: posts on the 'aim high vol 1' cd, crunk, junior boys, observer music monthly grime article, kanye west, and grime grime and more grime.
but not now cuz it's bedtime innit. night night y'all.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

currently getting all blissy and floaty listening to stylus magazine's mix cd top-boy todd burns' 'microhouse mix'. click click gurgle and swoon...
take me to the clouds above!
i take it all back. the new deja grime station [actually called 'raw blaze rather than the promised 'deja2'] is amazing. it's great to be able to tune in at just about any time after 4pm, any day, and be pretty much certain that yr going to hear a good grime set. no hassle. [or may be the hassle of trying to hear some music what makes it so good, part of the fun? but that's another post]

anyway, raw blaze 90.00fm is great. it's a shame that they didn't keep the name deja vu, though, cuz MCs used to play around with that name a lot and it always sounded wicked. like, 'its the big bad VU!'
and, 'it's de ja vizzzzzle!'

anyways, here's a [not quite complete} timetable for raw blaze, taken from rwdmag forum. [from now on, mondays 8-10 i'm not leaving the house]:

4-6 ?
6-8 Kidz in da Hood
8-10 Ruff Squad
10-12 East Co (Diesel)
12-2 Highgrade (South)


4-6 SP1
6-8 East Co (Maximum)
8-10 Wolfpack
10-12 Venom Crew
12-2 ?


4-6 ?
6-8 Scream Squad
8-10 SLK
10-12 ?


4-6 Merciless Crew
6-8 Total Package
8-10 New Band Flex
10-12 Aftershock Show
12-2 ?


6-8 Leona H
8-10 Boyz in da Hood/Fatal
10-12 East Co (Slimting)


4-6 Blaze Dem
6-8 Snapy
8-10 East Co (Diesel)
10-12 Kamikaze
12-2 Straight Gully?


4-6 Mackie
6-8 Maximum + SP1
10-12 Essentials
12-8 Bashment

Here's one for Luka:
the other day i was very surprised to see a wood pigeon and a crow have a fight in the garden. wood pigeons are usually such placid creatures. But the dispute was over food, and wood pigeons are also wonderfully fat, greedy things. The crow was strutting around the pigeon, pretending that it hadn't even noticed the food. I love the way crows are so clever but it also scares the shit out of me sometimes. I swear to god they've got a sense of humour. Anyway, after luring the wood pigeon in to a false sense of security, the crow lunged at the food [a massive bit of bread] and flew off with it. Then the pigeon went mental, the red mist came down, you could tell, and flew after the crow and attacked it with total viciousness and venom. The pigeon didn't wind the fight, cuz crows are well hard, but it was excellent to watch.
DOGZILLA + OT'S 'S.T.D' is out now and well worth listening to. It's also on the DJ Target Mix CD 'Aim High Vol. 1'. Dogzilla is the darkest grime MC around, by some margin. Whereas most other MCs' aggression is directed at other MCs- 'fake' MCs, Mcs that they're clashing with etc- Dogzilla just hates everyone. One of his lyrics goes, 'fuck it, i hate them all, i'm gonna rob them'. He has this gruff bark that doesn't even aim at dexterity or delicacy. It's more of a rant. Imagine Ray Winstone's character in 'Nil By Mouth' as a grime MC, that's what dogzilla is like. My girlfriend refuses to listen to him, and to be fair it's generally not a pleasant experience, but can be a strangely compelling one, to face up to this total misanthropy.

Actually, the ray winstone comparison is a good one [if i do say so myself...] because as with that character, there's a lot of sadness in Dogzilla's MCing. Perhaps more than any other grime MC except Dizzee, dog-z is willing to let it be known that he's hurting. Sometimes he has this almost-ghostly wail in his voice, cracked with pain. The lyrics that he does in this voice are heart breaking. There's one that goes 'things ain't goin to well, i'm goin to jail...' repeated over and over. Of course it loses loads being written down, but when you hear dogzilla do that lyric, in a voice that is the moment where a friday night closing time drinker suddenly flips from joy/aggression into total despair, it's unforgettable. Another lyric that he does in the same voice, goes 'what's yr number? what's yr star sign?'. That's one of my favourite bits of Mcing ever. It's the way Dogzilla says it, in that tuneless wounded wail, again and again. It's such a shit chat up line, and you know that Dogzilla knows that it's a shit chat up line, but he's going to keep saying it because he needs some one, and like most of us, he doesn't really know how to get some one. So he locks himself in to this pleading loop of asking the same question, and you've never heard an MC sound so lonely or so sad.

anyway, back to the point: 'S.T.D' is his new track, with Target on production. Target shines on this track, creating a dizzying swirl of strings and metallic tinkles and that odd dulled bell sound he often uses, that's so fast it drags MCs along with it, and plays an odd trick with yr ears where it seems to be speeding up but isn't.
And Dogzilla's on top form as well. here you get the really nasty, and painfully honest dog-z. He goes on about how he 'fucked this girl last night' and nows he's pissing razor blades and his dick's scabby, climaxing with 'my dick's got a toadstool on it'. The chorus is horrible, a rant of 'don't think that pretty girls ain't got shit, ugly/pretty it don't mean shit they can have that shit'. it's classic dogzilla, that awful sound of genuine hate that you still end up listening to, because, i guess, it's real. he doesn't put on a front.

Friday, May 21, 2004

ooops: should mention that what i meant to write was that chomsky was talking about the HYPOCRISY of western states' position on military intervention for supposedly humanitarian reasons. he wasn't defendig the use of military intervention for such reasons

[oh, and sorry for writing in capitals here a lot; its cuz this computer can't do italics for some reason. i know it looks a bit angry and shouty sorry]
recent stuff:
musketeers with agent X [musketeers is ex-pay as u go MC Maxwell D's lot]have done this grime track with death metal stabs in it: full on up-to-eleven distorted guitars and crashing cymbals. very exciting: it should sound horrible and wrong but that's why it sounds so great. kerrang...
metal and grime have quite a lot in common may be: both the sound of adolescent rage, both revel in their teenage macho-ness, both are focussed on showing a front of mental and physical strength, both exhibit, for the large part, a rejeection of anything poppy, feminine or melodic: a determination to be none-more-hardcore.
But i guess the difference is: teenage [and otherwise] metal bands tend to show contempt for the very idea of becoming commercially successful. whereas grime crews all have ambitions of MTV, world tours and albums, but on their own terms [watch lord of the decks dvd to see the heroic scale of their ambitions, which is also a little tragic: you know that most of them aren't going to make it, even though they deserve it, and you know that the frequently asserted bonds of complete unity - "in this crew for life" etc- are too easily fractured when one member has the chance to make it]

talking of which, apparently Kano has left NASTY Crew. now they've lost their three biggest names: d double, jammer and kano. it's all gone horribly wrong.
but Kano's been signed i think. he'll be the next grime MC to make it through to the mainstream probably. his flow is immediately appealing and memorable, he's very funny, he has this talent for coming up with poppy hooks, and he likes talking about girls more than guns.

biggie pibull has done a version of terror danjah's 'frontline' rhythm. it's incredible. he transforms himself into a feral animal. he barks like a dog, growls, makes slathering [is that a word? hope so] noises like he's chewing on bones. human bones. bones of fake MCs. there's a moment of discomfort in listening to it: here's a young black male presenting himself as bestial, as sub/non-human. too many abhorrent historical parallels. but, of course, he's not doing it to please a white elite, and he's not really presenting himself as sub-human: more super-human: an X-men-esque rebel hero.
and it sounds amazing.
does anyone know if kele le roc is jookie mundo's cousin? cuz on an advert last night a lady said 'hi, i'm kele [or kelly], and its my cousin jookie mundo's birthday bash at earl's wine bar...'

there's something interesting to be written on family ties in grime. like isn't tinchy stryder related to dizzee, or did i make that up? and doesn't god's gift have a cousin who's a fairly big female MC? and isn't slimzee related to a big grime name?
but, as you can probably guess, i'm not really the person to write that piece.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

i feel like i've taken a massive break from writing this blog, even though i haven't. i've been thinking about it quite a lot, having one of those crises of confidence that happen sometimes. in fact, i think just about every person writing a blog has that moment [and it generally seems to only properly happen once] when they ask themselves, 'why am i still doing this? what's the point?'. just about every blog i've ever read has a post somewhere about that feeling. and this is mine. I think you get that feeling when yr blog has actually become what you wanted it to be. you spend a long time when you first do a blog trying to make it in something whole, something substantial, rather than just a collection of individual posts- trying to carve out a distinct voice. but then when you've achieved that, when yr blog has settled down in to a distinctive, individual thing, the question inevitably comes: what to do now?
To continue as you've been going on, to stick within yr self imposed stylistic parameters, or do something totally different, or just stop?

that's the question i've been asking myself recently. over the past two months silverdollarcircle has finally become what i wanted it to be from the beginning and i'm quite happy with it- hence the question: what next?

well i've decided to just carry on as i've been going. no big changes, just the same as usual, because, i've been thinking, i do enjoy all this quite a lot.

so, let's get cracking...
chomsky came into town yesterday for a free lecture on 'simple truths, hard choices- some thoughts on terrorism and self defence'. the queue went all the way up the street an hour before the doors were due to open! we were queuing for 1 and a half hours. hardcore.
he gave a disclaimer at the start of the lecture warning us that he really was going to present us with 'simple truths', and to be fair, that's exactly what he did. i doubt anyone in the room was challenged or shocked by what they heard. it was a very clear, very lucid, and surprisingly funny, discussion of western hypocrisy in foreign policy with particular attention to the widespread denial of western state terrorism and the use of military intervention to prevent humanitarian disasters. Chomsky rarely told us anything that we didn't know already and that's not because i'm particularly knowledgable about western foreign policy [i'm not], but simply because the majority of people [at least in the left] know that that military interventions in vietnam, afghanistan and iraq were wrong in just the ways that Chomsky says that they were wrong. there were a number of interesting snippets of information that did challenge some common leftist prejudices/dogmas [that i myself has been guilty of on many occasions], such as his discussion of various instances of the USA's resistance to Israeli policies, countering the often voice belief that the US gives Israel pretty much the freedom to do what it wants. and he gave some useful, and often neglected, facts regarding the impact of Nato military intervention in Serbia and Kosovo as regards the escalation of ethnic cleansing and violence.

but the main thing about seeing Chomsky was, people left the room thinking 'Yes, my opinions and beliefs ARE correct, and they are obviously correct'. By his authoratitive way of addressing the audience, and his frequent asides of 'well, almost every expert in the field agrees with this position, there's a very broad consensus on this...' when giving his own views on problems and solutions, he's the antidote to the grey-area of moral indecision and uncertainty that Scott Somediso was talking about a while back.
That's a very inspiring thing, but i'm not sure whether or not it's a good thing. That way could lie unquestioning dogma, which Chomsky has managed to avoid, but which is such an unappealing aspect of much political writing and thought, from both right and left.

Friday, May 14, 2004

oh and if the more curious and observant of you were wondering why woebot is listed twice in the links section here, it's because it's so good.

like new york, named twice, and all that...

and so, to bed.
before i forget, ANYONE in the london area should make time to listen to Rinse fm 100.3 this sunday 5-7pm as the incomprable RIKO DAN is making a [relatively] rare pirate radio appearance. he's MCing with b-live. from the sublime to the ridiculous innit [riko is the sublime, by the way...]

riko is on wiley's 'pick yrself up' of course and is amazing as always. i love that slowed down sing song bit he does in his verse where he goes 'gimme gimme never get, don't you know yr manners yet?'. it sounds quite like really old jamaican deejays, like lizzy or scotty. keeping the links alive and all that...

all the MCs are excellent on 'pick yrself up'. in fact, i'd go so far as to say that they're alll at their career best. there's a moment of genius in each verse, like where Wiley goes 'if yr body ain't got no food it's nooooo good', or when j2k goes 'okaaay...' to kick his bit off. and even breeze is awesome. breeze isn't the best MC around, and he isn't nearly the best MC in roll deep, but he's fantastic on 'pick yrself up'. that line he does of 'skip, skipping on the beat' just fits the syncopations of the music so well and somehow sounds so innocent and joyful. and of course it's one of target's and danny weed's best ever productions, with their typical thing of making melodies that gnaw into yr head and stay there forever, but taken to a whole new level.

on 'Chosen One' riko does the best lyric i've heard for ages. here it is:
'you're goin see me on satellite,
gonna see me on saturday night
gonna see me on saturnite.
wait, saturnite, that ain't right...
but i told you before i'll say what i like!'

just for that line, i reckon he;s in the top 10 lyricists of all time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

big fucking youth.

he's all you need.

snappy. that's what i meant with the comments on wiley. he's snappy. so crisp. like shellac. no wastage. right to the point. i was so wrong. the great thing about wiley is that he sees MCing as a means to end. that's what gives him the urgency: every lyric you feel the urgency, like 'ok. lets get this line done and on to the next one'. always focussed on what's coming. that's a good thing, not a bad thing. i was wrong. sorry.

nasty crew this monday; not sure what's going on with de ja so i'm not sure if this is the last pirate set i'll hear from them. but what a goodbye. literally, for 40 minutes there was no let up. relentless lyrics, dj mac-10 playingg records for 10 seconds if that. frenetic. no stops to call out phone numbers or give shout outs. just moving forward constantly, lyrics upon lyrics. including one name checking various pirate stations, like
"i'm hot like 96.6" [the frequency of heat fm]
"my crew controls like 102.4" [the frequency for crews control fm]
"I'm on raw mish but i'm worth more than 9 grand" [raw mission fm is 90.00 fm]

clever clever stuff

what a fare well.
MASSIVE shift in opinion about the wileykat album. i was wrong- it's excellent, excellent stuff. splendid, as the virtual stoa would have it. if yr in that position where you just need to get on with what you have to do, put yr shoulder to the wheel or whatever the phrase is, like i have been the past few days, then wiley's album matches that situation perfectly. feel the focus! really inspiring, not just the words but also the that cold, relentless sound of it all, just motoring on and on and not having any soft edges or vagueness. deadly serious music.
if i had one of those fancy alarm clocks that woke you up to a song it'd be 'pick yrself up'/

"don't be lazy, wake up..." how could you not with wiley going on at you?

and best of all is that bit in the song 'treddin on thin ice' when wiley goes 'she gives me the ultimate sex'. i love that. partly cause i love the concept of the 'ultimate' sex, and partly because of the excitement in his voice when he says it. he gets right back to that 14 year old hormone-crazy state. like dizzee does when he slurs 'i love feeeeeemales, money and creps'.

some questions:
why do chefs wear checked trousers?
why don't you hear about teenagers and street drunks drinking mouthwash? it said in the paper that it's 25% alcohol. a bottle'd get you fucked up, easy. and taste better than white lightning. i guess it wouldn't be quite as cheap though. nothing is.

nothing in the world.
ok, bye bye

Friday, May 07, 2004

apparently de ja vu fm [92.3fm] is splitting into 2 separate stations- one devoted solely to grime on 107.7fm and the other playing 2 step, bashment, r n b, hip hop. bit sad about that really. cuz firstly one of the great things about de ja was that it was everything together- listen to it for a night and you got the best of old skool garage, the best of grime, the best of r n b etc. i loved that- i love it when stations draw links between scenes and hold on to the idea that all these scenes are feeding off each other- too much fragmentation can be destructive. like Target's clearly influenced by the r n b and hip hop, and terror danjah often has a strong dubby + minimal dancehall thing going on. it's a good thing when stations reflect this cross pollination. i think when de ja's grime artists get a whole station to themselves something important might be lost.

and also it's worrying because 107.7 might not have as good coverage as the present de ja frequency- at the moment, 107.7fm has a old skool hardcore + jungle station on with crystal clear reception in my area [you won't believe how tempted i was to write 'my ends' there]. at the moment de ja 92.3fm has easily the best signal out of all the garage pirates- luka says that it even reaches southend, which helps bring some unity to the music- all the grime fans can listen to exactly the same shows [go on rwd mag's forums and you'll see that most of the posts are about de ja]. and it's easily the clearest garage station here in clapham. but i'm not sure if de ja 107.7 will be able to break through the strong signal of the existing old skool station at that frequency.
worries worries worries

i don't know what i'd do if i couldn't listen to de ja. it really is one of the most important things in my life at the moment.

i don't think i'd do a blog if i couldn't get de ja, or a similarly excellent station. i mean, on mondays alone you've got;
essentials, ruff sqwad, nasty crew, east co, 2 tuff.

there is no better.

lethal b's got a good new track out- it's over the street's 'don't mug yrself' bassline, and has lethal b singing what [i think, but i'm not sure] seems to be the tune of 'My Girl', but changing the lyrics to, 'i've got a 45. under my seeaaaaaat...'
another love song to guns, but done in such an over the top way that it's hilarious.
he sounds like big youth or something- you know that thing of not being able to sing at all but also being a great singer that you can't help but love.
it's a totally crazy track--- lethal b frequently sounds absolutely feral recently. he's so angry and full on but so controlled with it, littering his lines with screams, yelps, sarcastic laughter, his trademark 'pow pow POW'S'. he sounds so confident at the moment, and so effortlessly at the top of his game. he's in the zone he he.
he's got an album out soon called 'against all odds'. i really do think that this could be the album of the year from what i've heard so far. he's got this manic energy that's almost hard to take it's so good; it's like he's speaking at tongues at some points, nearly drowning in this torrent of words and ideas.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

joe has got a really good thing up about gordon ramsey's spectacular new series. that line about autism had me laughing out loud.
which makes me sound terribly cold-hearted, i now realise. But go and read it and you'll see what i mean.

and philip sherburne has a lovely piece up about going to the kompakt record shop in cologne. it'll make you seeth with envy. or am i sounding colld hearted and mental again? sorry. anyway, yeah i'm v v jealous. i went to cologne about a year ago and stupidly didn't go to check out kompakt. it's an odd city i think. large parts of it are just like warrington or somewhere then you've got this huge cathedral in the centre that looks like a cliff face
The worst bit about that rephlex night was being searched on the door. See I have this thing about not dropping litter but I’m also too lazy to put my rubbish in a bin, so my pockets are always full of months of accumulated detritus- old train tickets, half empty packets of crisps, important letters than I’ve forgotten to reply to, old club flyers, empty lighters, the cellophane wrappers from blank tapes, and decomposing soft, spongy matter of indeterminate origin (which is always grey, for some reason). All this makes getting searched on the door at clubs a quite hugely embarrassing experience, as bouncers always feel the absurdly large bulges in my coat pockets and ask me to the empty them, lest a weapon of some sort be contained with the depths of rotting crap. But there’s only rotting crap, which then spills all over the floor of the club. Nervous, trying-to-look-surprised smiles from me; bouncers showing appropriate disgust and then quickly ushering me out of their sight, glad to get rid of this dirty, wretched thing. There’s no hatred or anger in their eyes, more a pitying, cringing look which asks quite clearly, and reasonably ‘how can you live like that?’. It’s all quite embarrassing, but at least it means that my pockets get a good clear out once in a while.


Good to see Woebot breaking the blogging silence over wiley’s album. I’m not too enthususiastic about writing a great deal on it, partly because I think most of it has been covered in enough depth over the past year or so by various blogs focussing on individual tracks like igloo, ice rink, eskimo, pick yrself up, special girl, the game etc. and partly because I’m not actually that excited about the record. It doesn’t feel half as important or definitive as dizzee’s did. In the same month as ‘treddin on thin ice’ was released, a superior [in my opinion] grime album was put out [the ‘aim high vol 1’ cd of target’s various productions]. Whereas dizzee’s album stood high above all other albums I heard last year, wiley’s album isn’t even the best grime cd released in april.

Which isn’t to say that it’s not a good album. It is; ‘pies’ and ‘wot do u call it’ are great, as is ‘pick yrself up’ of course. ‘Treddin on thin ice’ [the song] has got a great chorus, and ‘special girl’ has one on the greatest openings ever- that shivery, glittery intro of tinkly bells with an ominous one-note bassline underneath. But there are two major flaws in the album I think. Firstly, wiley focusses too much on 2 topics which he doesn’t deal with well:- girls/wanting to be loved, and his personal pain.

Wiley’s clipped, ultra-serious monotone is best suited to what he does most, I think, which is offering inspirational lines of the importance of picking yourself up, never admitting defeat, always keeping on. ‘I will not lose’ and all that. He’s at his best when he sounds coldest, when he has this steely, almost robotic commitment to getting what he wants and going on and on, relying on only himself, becoming a self made man. [wiley a-reluctant- thatcherite?]. but too often on the album he tries to show his sensitive, human side and it doesn’t really work. He delivers lines which would sound incredible if dizzee said them [just imagine dizzee doing those lines of ‘I need someone…’ or ‘I’ve got this pain that won’t go away’]. But wiley’s voice just doesn’t really suit that kind of vulnerability. Of course wiley is just trying to show us that he’s not always Artic cold, but that persona, however caricatured, is what suits his MCing best, and also what he sounds most comfortable in.

Secondly, although I love wiley’s MCing, and I do think he’s hugely underrated and original [for example, although people e.g doogz sometimes takes the piss out wiley for ending lines with the same words, he makes it sound so right], he doesn’t really convey that joy in words, of verbiage for its own sake/ for art’s sake, that makes people like dizzee or demon or god’s gift or kano so thrilling. MCing often seems to be just a means to an end with wiley- a way to put his message across, or a way to show that he’s the top boy. [tellingly, on the ‘lord of the decks’ dvd, wiley says that if he didn’t war with people he ‘just wouldn’t be bothered’ with his MCing]. You rarely get the impression that wiley is enjoying MCing as an end in itself, enjoying the sounds of the words, the theatre of it. And that makes the album pretty heavy going in places. Whereas on, say dizzee’s album the darkness of the subject matter was eased by dizzee’s clear delight in the sound of his voice:- ‘fix up look sharp’, for instance, is the sound of someone loving the act of MCing, of putting on voices, and slurring and sliding words into one another. It’s playful and wonderful, and it’s like a kind of gymnastics. and it’s what wiley’s album, for the most part, lacks.

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