Ingram’s piece on “Un Ra” is so bad, ill-informed and patronising it makes you wonder whether he bothered to listen to any of the records he mentions.

I was in two minds whether to put the link in here but on balance felt people should make their own minds up. All I can say is… that’s a bit rough Marcello! Get a sense of humour mate! I thought it was fun, entertaining piece, and read it that way — maybe you’re taking this a leeeetle too seriously? I mean — “patronising”? Leave it out. Join in the fun or keep schtum cos this was only a larf. The whole premise would, I’d have thought, precluded your comments but I dunno. I don’t want to namedrop — actually I DO want to namedrop, shamelessly, repeatedly and often with both wild innaccuracy and invention, just not here, not now — but Matt described the piece to me the night before when we were out on the piss* and it came out just great as far as I could tell. We are not talking musicological critique here. Despite the fact that Matt — poor fella!! — does not “indulge”, this was a little bit of flight of fantasy, a bit of — yes I’ll use the word again — fun. I’d have thought a small apology would be in order, but as Eden always says at times like this, if it wasn’t for in-fighting, schisms and pointless argument, we wouldn’t have any political development. I’ve never understood this, but he always says it, so there you go.

* Actually we were in an extremely nice restaurant, but we’re not mentioning that now.

You’ve got to admit it, in terms of the instrumental, Garage has REALLY dropped the ball. You could happily listen to a whole evening of without an MC as recently as 2001, but now they’re pretty dull on their own.

Yeah, but deliberately. I mean, the whole shift to MC-led trax — which was, like, inexorable from summer 99 onwards — meant that the backing track became kinda functional. Just a backing track. Nobody cares unless they’re spittin’. Interestingly, on the Roll Deep website’s mixes, the MCs are going all the time until the DJ drops something a bit retro, a bit more uptempo, something with a groove and a melody — and then the MCs take a breather. There’s no space for rapping. Of course, from the DJ’s point of view — and the crowd’s — this is their chance to actually have a dance instead of just nodding their heads to the spastic slo mo (just kiddin, folks!).

Anyway… you’ll probably all be disgusted to hear that you can still listen to great MC-free garage on the radio and online, real old skool vibe but with new tracks (I can hear Skykicking sharpening his pencil with gritted teeth!). Just listen in to Femme Fatale’s show on 1Extra (yeah, you’re all laughing out loud now!). I recorded her last show into the Mac — fantastic, especially for an old Upfront FM fan like me, cos she did a loud of shouts to old Upfront faces and dropped some ’98 2step tracks. Kicking. She also played an MJ Cole remix of Battle which was ace, as you’d expect (I always had ideological problems with Battle but never let them interfere with enjoyment of it as a tune). Now, I have no idea just how “dead” 2step is out there in garageland (shades of the Clash!) — probably pretty stone cold judging by the track listings on Juno (if there’s an audience, there’s a product right? Right? Errrrrrrr…) — but it still sounds pretty fucking fabulous to me. And any chance to re-open the sores of the “2step is dead — and it’s shit — and it’s conservative” debate has got to be worth a giggle!

::::……::::…:::::::::…..: “4 fox sightings in the last 2 weeks.”

You’d think living minutes from the Peak district that I would see loads of foxes around. But I don’t. Apparently it’s because there’s SO much green space and food around, the foxes simply don’t have to show themselves. They can move around for at least half the day in total camoflage and get everything they need. Both Tescos and Sainsburys are next to the railway line, so foxes can just stroll in from the peaks or from their pad in town, nick whatever leftovers they want (there’s loads of takeaways backing onto the railway line, thinking about it), and then piss off back to the country.

silverdollarcircle: “just heard an east connection track [on musketeers + lady fury’s show on 99.3 Flashback FM, 10-12 tuesdays] which has the same intro as dj scud’s ‘kill or be killed’- the jamaican gangster from some flim i used to know the name of but have forgotten going ‘y’understand, i murder people for fun…'”

It’s the Don Donna speech. I can’t remember which JA film it’s from… country man? Don’t think it’s Babylon, don’t think it’s Harder they come, though it might be… My fave use of this is on Headtop’s The Don Donnna, which is a fabulous garage record, still gets played today. | jim fitzsimons | On not joining: “This far, and no further… and just cos TOPY’s (as one example) this far is a good deal further than the Church of England’s this far, doesn’t mean much when you’re talking about the infinite potential of the human imagination.”

(Shrugs)… well, what do you expect Jim? I can’t really comment on the specifics of TOPY (whoever they are / were) but all organisations are built on compromise and it’s naive to expect otherwise. And if your yardstick is “the infinite potential of the human imagination”… well, you’re going to be disappointed by anyone and anything, not to mention EVERYone and EVERYthing. “The infinite potential of the human imagination” only exists in one’s head. The minute you step out into language, let alone into building a functioning group of people, you’ve collapsed the “infinite potential” into a small box.

“I guess i’m just trying to say that you shouldn’t ever accept limitations imposed upon you by those who claim occult wisdom.”

Eh? Well of course! You need to go into these things with your eyes open and not expect perfection. Gurus are useful and sometimes very exciting, but all of ’em have limited worldviews and relevance.

GUTTERBREAKZ: “(Shakedown) The Whole Thing’ just tears through my senses with it’s harsh drum sound, squalling Coltrane-on-smack sax line and overpowering web of grainy digital found-sounds coming at you from every angle. “

Yeah, it wasn’t so much universally reviled as ignored when it came out. I got given a promo copy — they must have been desperate. It sounds exhausted, which I suspect they were by then. In fact it reminds me of grime’s knackered post-garage plonking.

GUTTERBREAKZ: “Suicide, Cabs, TG, Chrome, The Normal, ACR, Human League, Joy Division, Wire, Devo”

Now, not being of the Wire persuasion*, other than a cursory look at the pictures when I’m at Uncarved Towers, I have no idea what our Jon has stuck on the tape. But if it was me, it wopuld go something like:

TG: Heathen Earth — a bit chosen at random
Suicide — a short excerpt of Che with some echo on it, mixed into Frankie Teardrop
Joy Division — Digital
The Normal — Warm Letherette — spun back after two minutes, then into the Grace Jones version
Human League — Being Boiled — the big, punding version, not the original — then into the dub of Hard Times
ACR — Waterline
Wire — Map Reference
Devo — Satisfaction

Actually you’d probably have to do one section of dance music and one section of post-rock. Joy Division would probably go in the dance music section. Yes that’s an ideological point.

* Was it the Wire? Or was it Mojo? All these magazines I look at before picking up Country Lift, the journal of rural elevator installation firms…

BTW I’m beginning to think maybe I was into Arthur Russell all along, though I am probably still mixing him up with George Russell, whose “Livingstone I Presume” was the ultimate in evil big band doomcore, at the time.


Does one great David Essex cover maketh a career?

Umm, yes I suppose it does actually.

blissblog: “Why only the other day I had to listen to ‘Fat Man’ by Southern Death Cult: truly atrocious”

No doubt. But at a party in a church hall in Brentwood in 1983 or whenever it was, it was an exciting relief.