Re: The Big Chill’s deal with VH1

It’s an interesting business strategy problem in many ways. It’s a
little like the Chasm theory in marketing, where (to reverse the usual
train of thought of this theory) offerings fail to survive because in
trying to make it across to a wider audience they alienate their
initial, and most substantive audience, and their market collapses. Part
of this problem is choosing which business partners to go with in order
to monetize the intellectual and cultural capital you’ve accumulated.
You really can blow it in business terms by trying to squeeze too much
money out of your offering and alienating your audience as a result.
More pointedly, no matter how underground you;re trying to be (or really
are), the wrong business partner can just destroy your brand value, and
this can happen very quickly.

Demonstrably, the Big Chill hasn’t suffered from this, at least not yet,
despite the extreme precariousness of their position: the very fact
that their audience is to a great degree un-served by mainstream
offerings, yet largely white, middle class and monied, makes them
intensely valuable to marketeers. In fact, a lot of people can (and do)
assume that the Big Chill has sold out simply because it has always
served a valuable demographic niche. (Without getting too deeply into
the cultural politics of the big chill, I think this is broadly an
unfair accusation, BTW.)

What is interesting about the deal with VH1 — a brand that to be frank
fills me with the creeping horrors and which I find deeply alienating
and very far from what I want BC to be — is that it’s not a sponsorship
deal. It’s a quid pro quo. VH1 gets access to the Big Chill’s audience
and a small amount of branding and communications — but it doesn’t just
buy the Big Chill’s arse / cultural capital off the shelf. Instead, the
Big Chill get some of VH1’s business and infrastructural capital — they
get a slot in VH1’s schedules. This gives BC something they couldn’t
achieve on their own, significantly extending BC’s capability, while VH1
effectively take all the business risk.

It’s a nice move.

But the minute BC starts playing three hour late-eighties Eric Clapton
acoustic sets to “mellow people out”, that’s it, I’m turning up with the
Ambush raggacore sound system with some Bug dubplates.

Past coming back to haunt…

Had a fab time at the Sheffield demo yesterday. Texted various ppl on the
way and most of em were on the way to London (12 coaches IIRC
from Leeds alone). The demo had several hundred people there, mainly CND
and Quaker and floating voters. No SWP, must’ve been in London, but this
seemed to mean it was a mainly white crowd — SWP seem to be very good
at getting the asian community out judging by previous demos. Day was
blazing sunshine all day, didn’t see a cloud anywhere. Mood was very
friendly and relaxed, loads of kids playing, hardly any cops, really
nice. Cringed a bit at the Xtian peacenik singalongs but fuck it they
were there. All passed off very peacefully.

Afterwards went to an art gallery and played in the peace gardens, which
have fab water sculptures, with the near-full moon looming overhead. I
was struck by how well served Sheffield is by public spaces that bring
together people from different cultures — a real sense of politics of
the everyday in the air. A sense of hope.

The mighty John Eden, who is blogging nicely at, is investigating political mythaeopia, which is good to see. No doubt he will be mercilessly attacked by the fundamentalist-realist leftie massive, but then they are always attacking everybody, all the time.

From Simon Reynolds on garage rap slowing down…

“he’s not talking about that though, a brief intermission of slow jams — but the whole tempo of the scene’s output falling — you’re starting to get tunes like ‘they wanna talk about us’ which ahve the UK garage style of Mcing but are as slow as American rap like Ludacris. tunes that are quite dirgy with doomy fanfares a la ‘rollout’ or Swizz Beats tunes.”

In other words — “you’re out of touch matey”! Oh well, I guess I’m too far away from the pirates to keep up with the bleeding edge of garage, despiute Onextra…

100% Dynamite


re: “the truly awful 100% Dynamite series” at…

Bit OTT… They make sure people get paid. As much as they can do, and maybe the original deal wasn’t brilliant, but so far as fairness can be achieved, Soul Jazz try to achieve it. This is important — real people in the real world benefit from Soul Jazz and 100%. <

Garage rap getting slower:
from simon reynold’s blog:
> Blissblog regulars might recall the dissenting views of one Matthew Ingram,… now he reckons the way forward is for tracks to get even slower.

But this is an old trend in UKG. Lots of UKG stars have gone slow when they need to crossover into wider markets or flex their creative muscles — think Ms Dynamite, Misteeq, or now Big Bruvva both of whom have gone down to r’n’b speeds for later jams. Or, some years ago now, the Dreem Team going back in time in the their record collections and adding in slower soul, r’n’b and hip hop tracks to their shows. Canny…

I suppose the Punjabi MC record means that the whole asian dance music has now been digested and regurgitated about three times now, alongside the “This Year’s Big Thing”-ness that was anglo-Asian culture in 2002.

Nevertheless there is a whole underground of fast-rapping-in-punjabi UK-garage records that are fanatstic, yet I’ve never seen them in a record shop or heard them on the radio. Still looks like an undiscovered oasis to me, but no doubt it will get discovered and pulled apart soon…

Very impressed with the history of punk and dub from Greg Whitfield at

Science and religion …
from the pogo-ing conversations at meta-com-blog…

> but inherent in the idea of science is the idea that each theory is only
> valid until something comes along and disproves it.

Yes this is science’s saving grace — but the empirical critique of
science, as made by Foucault and others, is that it is a lot more
affected by the mind set of its actors and the setting in which it
exists than it is generally prepared to admit. Its theoretical
independence and objectivity is tainted — this is why Heisenberg had
such resonance.

>Compare the evolution of scientific theory over the last 1500 years with
>the evolution of the dogma of the Catholic church. Which one do you
> think has changed the most?

This is an interesting question (UKD collectively stabs the scroll
button…). First, I’m not sure that “science” has existed that long.
Sure you can go back to Pythagoras and indeed shadowy figures before
him, but don’t forget the rationalist materialist paradigm of which
science is the central figure went out of its way to repudiate its
supposedly irrational forebears. I guess science in anything like its
modern form in the west dates back to, what, 1300? Islamic and Chinese
science probably goes back a few centuries before. So in the
comparatively brief period that science has existed, it’s gone through
paradigmatic revolutions under (quick and incomplete guess) Newton,
Darwin, Einstein, a few others. Maybe science’s paradigmatic evolution
hasn’t been that great!

Now let’s look at Catholic theology. Around 500 you still had Gnosticism
hanging around, you still had the Celtic pagano-Xtian church in Britain
and Britanny (they got screwed down by 600 or so), you had the
Albignesian heresy up to about 1200, celibacy introduced around 800
maybe later, Christmas instituted in 800… You had linbks with what
became the Eastern Orthodox church until at least 1100, you had links
with the fucking Ethiopian Catholic church till 700 or so (still
probably the oldest pure Xtianity in the world…). You had the Marian
cult taking off in Spain, southern France and Italy around 1500 (a
co-option of what was effectively a full-on pagan revival). You had
multiple European popes from 1300 to 1500 (IIRC), you had papal
infallibility introduced during the renaissance, you had the church as
war-making nation-state from 1400s on… I could go on, and I haven’t
hit Vatican I and II yet. Each of these changes were seismic shifts in
how Catholicism was constructed politically and ideologically. Maybe
Catholicism has evolved more than science?

I’m not saying I like the changes though…