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Monday, October 31, 2005


things that happened in londontown today:

-this morning, i overheard a man say, "i think, recently, i've become...a whole lot more complex". that's such a great thing to say.

-then i saw a man standing in the middle of oxford street perusing page 3 of the Sun incredibly closely and intensely.

-then i saw a man accost that cunt on oxford street with the mega-phone whose 'christian' views have taken a markedly sexist and anti-islamic tone recently. 'great' i thought- finally i'm going to see someone tell that bastard to shut up with his rightwing bullshit. but, no: on getting closer to them, within eaves dropping range, it became apparent that the man was actually having a go at mega-phone twat for not being right wing enough! Specifically, he was taking objection to the latter's calls for an end to world poverty: "it's not about the world, it's about britain", was the counter-argument. jesus christ.

-then i saw a tree surgeon [love that phrase!] on top of a really tall, spindly tree, chopping the whole of the top of the tree off. it looked well perilous so i couldn't bear to watch for long.

but forget london. the more important question is: what's been going on in sheffield recently? and the answer is: i've been visiting it. my first time in the socialist republic of south yorkshire (it's still called that, right?) and oh my days it's a lovely place. it's a bit like tufnell park multiplied by 100 and transplanted to moors and valleys and then filled with students. it's great and everyone's ridiculously well dressed and good looking for some reason. slash these bastard's student loans and force them back into cherry red DMs and rubbish Levellers t-shirts, i say. but i digress. why was i in sheffield? to see the mighty Vegetables. and they were ruddy special, to an arcane and resonant degree. you should see this band. they're funny and they write some of the only pop music that sounds like it knows we're no longer in the 60s, the 70s, or the 80s. and they write songs about interesting things that people actually care about, like george orwell and the history of psychiatry.

afterwards i went to a student indie disco, for a brief return to the indie nation. it's in good health, i can report. people are having strangely huge amounts of fun and kissing people who they think are pretty and getting drunk and forgetting about their essays. and steve lamacq's still the DJ. so, it's much the same as it ever was. to be honest, i found the whole thing a bit confusing and oddly overwhelming, but it was fun.

hang tight The Special One for peerless hospitality and kindness.

it's gone now, so if you've not got it yet you might never have it, but Lemon-Red did a guest post of houston hip-hop on the stypod mp3 blog. it was a short mix of a type of music that i've never heard before, but i want to hear so much more, so soon. i like the odd clunkiness of many of the beats, as well as the day-glow trippiness of the rest- i swear one track features a cut up sample of the Crazy Frog. much of it is filtered to fuck, full of sonic warps and whooshes, which helps to make it some of the dirtiest, catchiest sounds around. in a way, it's a bit like super-confident grime, with MCs sounding like sales-pitching used car dealers rather than nervy teenagers, and the often skeletal sound you get in grime replaced by grand, over the top, american (?) gestures, albeit one's equally plasticy and focussed on melodic-brutalist ring-tone style riffs. and there's a similar sense of things being sketchy and lush at the same time. but really, more to the point, it's music that makes me want to sit outside in summer and get drunk. which is a great, important thing to have in yr life.
so, this autumn will definitely be time to track down some more...suggestions to the usual e-mail address if yr in the know about this stuff, please...

Saturday, October 22, 2005


there's a poster in the tate that says that.

Posted by: silverdollarcircle.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


hey i've been ill. bird flu. contracted it from feasting on raw chicken. a lesson learnt.

never let it be said that SDC is tasteful.
i really have been ill though. that bit wasn't a lie.
dogzilla's taken to saying, 'i'll fuck up the next track, i'm CONFIDENT!'. ha!
not only does dogzilla sound like a particularly fucked up and vulnerable/crazy ray winstone character (think nil by mouth) he actually looks like him! it's uncanny.
sidenote: ray winstone's daughter is the posh girl in that naughty hip hop crew Crack Village. or so i've been told.


we went to Bangface the other day. if you go on their website you'll see some pictures of me and my 'crew'. an incentive, no? anyway, bangface... before it's just been kind of fun. but THIS time; oh my dizzle! it was like the best night of the past 2 years or something. absolutely insane fun. it's everything innit- the way everyone's blindingly drunk, the riot of xeroxed pictures on the walls, the fact that the phrase 'arthur fowler he loved this place' was stuck on the wall, the fact that it's in electrowerkz- which has it's own fake 'kitchen' in what is otherwise an apocalyptic concrete shell, the way it was the night i took to drinking neat whisky for the first time, the inflatable toys, cassette boy's impeccably rehearsed but very funny chaos, kid606's mohican, shut up and dance's sheer fuzzy blissiness, and ceephax's chest-cavity caving acid- even though it did get a bit pointlessly complex towards the end.

thing is about bangface, it kind of should be a bit awful, in that it's a bit of an 'IDM' pastiche of rave. but it's not awful at all, because the 'pastiche' isn't tongue in cheek, but a joyous show of genuine affection and an unwillingness to be self conscious. 'camp' doesn't have to be postmodern- 'pastiche' doesn't have to be arch and emotionally dead. having grown up in the 90s, these things are easy to forget.

and, perhaps more importantly, bangface never forgets that the dancefloor is always the main thing, and that you can't dance to smirking cleverness, nor to irony alone.

so, go to bangface and group-hug to rave like it's yr first time...


here's my theory about skepta: while he was a producer he spent a while coming up with lyrics, and so arrived on the scene as an MC with the best, most developed lyrics out there. but, it was all about the lyrics, rather than the tone. he was still in 'writing mode' rather than 'performing mode', so everything was too clearly enunciated and too clean. but now that he's an MC as much as a producer, he's no longer MCing from a writer's standpoint, but rather a performer's. so there's a lot more variation in his MCing now- the old monotone has gone, and he's getting more and more characterful as an MC all the time.

actually, when Wiley has loads of new lyrics he tends to lapse into a monotone as well- the focus is on the words rather than the sound. now, with skepta, there seems to be an acceptance that it's not just about reading out amazing lyrics with a perfect-time flow: it's about being, er, hype. or like dizzee would say... live-o.

what a great track that was. Skank OUT!
I was thinking about how much i like ruff sqwad the other day and apart from all the romanticism and raviness to them, i think it's also cuz the beats sound kind of awkward and clattery. that rickety clatter used to be what most grime sounded like 2 or 3 years ago. now, grime tends to be very controlled and have a tightness to it.- everything sounds hemmed in, compressed: claustrophobic, almost. and that can be great, from the precision blare and bangs, shock and awe, of davinche productions, to the amazing pointillist cuts and chops of low deep and young.dot etc.

but a part of me misses that rough clatter that grime used to have- the sense that the beats were almost an after-thought- a sound effect, more than a rhythmic instrument. the looseness and madness of those early tunes. and ruff sqwad still have some of that, which is just another reason why they're the best thing EVER.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


pakistan's broken in half, southern USA is drowned, bird flu is on its way, the tube's down till further notice- causing total chaos-, the government want to lock people up without trial, and it seems to piss down with rain constantly...

is this what the apocalypse is meant to look like?


you know some people say, 'nah, i never vote. they're all the same, aren't they?' ?. well, i'm just guessing here, but i imagine quite a few of those people vote for stuff like pop idol, or big brother. but in what sense is the choice between gareth whatshisname and Will Fatface a real choice? or the 'choice' between two toni and guy robot-fucks on Big Brother?

anyway, that's enough.

ok, latest movements go like this:
-loads of grime MCs have stepped up their game since skepta's been MCing- hear wiley, or dog-z, or essentials* now, and the levels of lyrical complexity and humour have gone right up.

-bruza's done this track with terror danjah called 'so real'. it's soppy piano-led loveliness like target in one of his R n B moods. bruza does these very JME-esque lyrics, all about how warring MCs aren't real, and his conscious lyrics are realer than another MC's gun lyrics. and it's like, yeah, JME has made this point a thousand times, and it wasn't that interesting the first time.

-wiley shows a lyrical interest in my uh Manor in his new track with ruff sqwad- something like, 'i'll clap-'em, but i'm not from junction'.

-that lady sovereign tune about hoodies is bloody bonkers i tell you! the way she yelps, 'sheeeee likes, theeeey like, weeee like our three stripes!', in the kind of voice that 15 year olds on the piss at the back of the bus have, it's brilliant!

-crazy titch has done this track which is like the first (relatively) subdued vocal i've ever heard from him. can't remember what it's called, sorry. anyway, the new mature, pipe and slippers, come round the fire and i'll tell you a few tales my children, Crazy Titch is great. he even does his old lyric of 'old skool, rude boy, ruff neck soldier' and it's sounds kind of...relaxing. weird.

-a few weeks back i wrote about the new mini-trend for very riffy, head caving, almost belgian-sounding grime tracks. well, it turns out that one of the tracks i'm talking about is:
starfox- 'henry cat'.
you must hear this track. it's on slimzee's mix on the mighty Rinse sessions 6cd set.

-a nice lyric i heard recently: 'i'm real, like madrid FC'.

and with that, i'm off to see the boy David Cameron make a tit of himself on Question Time...

*it never seems right to talk of essentials members singularly- they're like a group-mind thing. like the picture in Hobbe's Leviathan;


Sunday, October 09, 2005

Long Shadows.

hey, here's my favourite bit of writing ever, may be:

"He let the entire world press on him. For instance? Well, for instance, what it means to be a man. In a city. In a century. In transition. In a mass. Transformed by science. Under organised power. Subject to tremendous controls. In a condition caused by mechanization. After the late failure of radical hopes. In a society that was no community and devalued the person. Owing to the multitude power of numbers which made the self negligible...At the same time, the pressure of human millions who have discovered what concerted efforts and thoughts can do."

it's by saul bellow, from his novel 'herzog'.
reading saul bellow makes you feel and think like a conservative and a radical at the same time. 'radical', what an old fashioned word...


an autumnal snap in the air and a sudden yearning to here nick drake: Summer is over. which isn't too bad: nowhere does the grey of autumn and winter like London: a leaden, stately grey. lady grey/earl grey.

but the end of the best season only makes it worse that i haven't written about the most summery grime track of this year yet. it's produced by chunky bizzle and as usual i don't know the title. i don't know the MC either, which is a more serious crime. my heart says that it's stamina boy, but that's just a stupid, reasonless hunch. anyway, if you heard the pirates over the summer then chances are you will have heard this tune, lighting up the dark corners of grime sets. it's the one with the chorus of, 'and i'm like, and you're like, and they're like'. you know it, right? ok, so this was kind of the 'boys love girls' of this year- a little bit of melodic mischievousness that arrived suddenly and hung around all summer. the MC, whoever it is, isn't great but he doesn't need to be- he's good just providing structure and minimal distraction to a typically wispy, weightless chunky bizzle production. it starts off with a sped up soul sample, 'i can paint a perfect picture, of our love...'. and you think: another kanye-grime track, big deal. but then a 'woo-ohh' vocal comes in and stays on, breathlessly, undulating throughout the verse. the chorus comes in, and the vocal sample sticks onto a single 'woooo' and doesn't let up: just about all there is, really, is this one, crystal note. and in its melodic simplicity, its pure-tone perfection, i fell in love with it. chunky bizzle realises that sometimes, all you need is a note. it's such a lovely, gorgeous note, too, sounding as dusty and golden as 'slow jamz' did, framed by these odd old drum machine creaks. a track for late-summer late-afternoon happy weariness.

so, the track kind of sounds like sachiko M playing an al green cover, and the MC does a little bit of al green-esque juxtaposition of the sacred and the profane, religion and sex, where he seems to say something about 'girls coming out of church, giggling and flirting'. love, sex, religion and ultra-minimalism. what more do you want?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

best recent variations on the 'are you dumb?!' grime-meme:



both by bruza, i think.

hey i went to FWD the other day. it was my first time ever, and MMS rightly admonished me for taking so long. anyway, it was great. skepta was on the Mic for ages and was wicked: he was even doing these D double style echo effects. skream wrecked my head and my insides. heartless crew were bouncy and fun. Ears stood around and kept looking like he was about to get on stage but he didn't in the end. jammer sat in a corner and slept. essentials milled about- jendor is bigger in real life than he looks on those DVDS, but that really isn't saying much. anyway, that's all i can remember cuz i had a few two many brandies...

'TV psychologists' = lowest of the low. hearing them speak is like staring out into an grey ocean of utter banality. still, at least the decade or so that they each probably spent in higher education has stood them in good stead...


in the Guardian the other day there was a survey about young people and 'new media' (urgh!). apparently 30% of teenagers have internet sites. more interestingly, though, 7% (SEVEN PERCENT!) don't know whether they have an internet site or not. jesus christ, how can you POSSIBLY not know? like, if yr not sure whether you've got one or not, it'd be a good guess to say that you haven't...

but teenagers are mental anyway. they all want to vote tory and hate drugs and want to criminalise abortion. i read it somewhere.

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