Friday, September 17, 2010

There is a light that never goes... out?

Earlier this year, there was a mass grass-roots campaign to rescue what is pretty unarguably London's best club, Plastic People, from the utterly spurious claims of Hackney Council that it ought to be closed to rescue the area from anti-social behaviour. If you've ever been out in Shoreditch you'll know what a joke this is - closing Plastic People to improve the tone of the area is just re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic - there are genuine offenders there, clubs which vomit onto Old Street drunken, bottle-smashing, coked-up twats in want of a fight every weekend. Plastic People is the least offensive out of about 20 late-night venues in the Shoreditch triangle. "Save Plastic People - CLOSE 333!" as one friend of mine commented at the time. In the spring, 16,000 people joined the Save Plastic People facebook group, 8,000 signed the petition, and there were blog posts and heartfelt testimonies as far as the eye could see, from America and beyond. I can't be bothered to enumerate what makes the 200-capacity club the best in London at this stage, this isn't the time - if you know, you know.
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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Jammer for The National

Another long piece for The National's 'Review', in which I introduce grime to the UAE, chart Jammer's history, discuss the zeitgeist trade-off between grime's underground and the charts, and - somewhere in there - review his debut album.
To concentrate on grime’s darkest reaches is to miss out on at least half its raison d’être. It was – and still is – a style of contradictory extremes; situating squalor and glittering aspiration side-by-side. In its flush of youth, songs detailing lurid acts of violence would be performed in opulent clubs with strict dress codes; brutally avant-garde rhythms accompanied by sugar-sweet female vocals and baroque melodies.

Guardian Music Weekly Podcast

I did a couple of these over the summer with Live magazine superhero Emma Warren and muy affable Guardian hosts Rosie Swash and Alexis Petridis. So, er, follow the links below if you can stand to hear me wittering.

13 August - Dubstep special, with Skream, Mount Kimbie, and The Dream's 'Yamaha' as the song I brought in for show and tell (guests bring in their favourite songs of the moment for a section called the singles club).

27 August - Carnival special, with Norman Jay, The Jolly Boys, and JW & Blaze's insane 'Palance' (seriously, watch the video).

Mobile Disco: Sodcasting for The Guardian

3,000 word cover feature for The Guardian's Film&Music about 'sodcasting', mobile phone music, and the battle for public space, featuring Dexplicit, Wayne Marshall (who started this whole ball rolling), and a million angry Guardian commenters.

This bit didn't make it into the paper, but the stuff about the mosquito - and its specifically high use in the UK - is astonishing, and significant:
The last two decades have seen scores of playing fields 'realigned' for housing development, a rapid growth in the number of gated communities, and now even sound is being used to alienate young British people from public space. A report by the Council of Europe published in late June condemned as "degrading and discriminatory" the use of the 'mosquito', a high-pitched sound which can be heard "only by children and people into their early 20s," The Guardian reported, "and is used to prevent teenagers congregating outside shops, schools and railway stations". 5,000 of these devices have been sold across Europe since 2006: 3,500 of these were in the UK.