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how much longer must we tolerate mass culture?

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Bournemouth Whitey Vs Sound System Culture..
(Let’s Get Ready To Be Rumbled Mix)

Sound system culture – proper sound system culture, not two Nathan Barleys who have got themselves a residency at Bar Ironique in Shoreditch and figure that makes them a soundsystem – is something that people grow up in, immerse themselves in, live for.

Not only did I grow up in Bournemouth – the least irie town outside Ulan Bator, and the jury’s still out on that one – but I came to reggae late and my tastes are way too wide for me to specialise as much as I’d need to if I wanted to be taken seriously.

Which is why I feel like a fucking charlatan whenever I get a reggae gig. And it happens quite a lot. Why is a festival in Belgium FLYING me out and putting me up in a hotel so I can play some reggae for them? Don’t they know any PROPER reggae DJs?

I’m serious. This is how I really feel – would I lie to you? And I’m not fishing for compliments or reassurance either, cos there’s only me here!

I’m a dilettante, a sneak, a cuckoo in the nest. I mean, I love the stuff, but I don’t love it any more than any number of other people who have more records, more depth of knowledge and more skills than me. So were they busy that weekend or what?

Part of it is nepotism sure – I know people who know people. Zion Train ring my house, that sort of shit. And I know I’ve got some good fucking tunes. I even like to kid myself I have a style of sorts.

But I can’t shift the feeling that someone’s going to expose me as a fraud.

Used to run a reggae night at Brixton Windmill for a few months, it went well – the brief was that we’d cover the lot – start nice and dubby, step it up through some steppers and sufferah music, up the tempo into digidub and dancehall, finish with ska and rocksteady and some crowd-pleasing Zion Train festidub stompers.

I liked that, didn’t see it happen anywhere else, thought we had a good thing, and so did the people who came. I was proud - not in a self-congratulatory way, but in that faintly naff and often implausible 'giving something back' way. but that was ok - it was on my terms and to be honest the audience weren't usually hardcore dubheads and the like...

But when it came to getting gigs outside the confines of my own night, I just dried up. If someone asked me and I knew them, I’d do it. But I’d never push for it, never offer my services. Why not? Selectah Y and DJ Z would be much better, get them to do it…

And this isn’t – I hope. I really fucking hope! – predicated on some hang-up about authenticity, about blackness, about rasta. Fuck all that. I just feel like I show up with a bag of records that everybody else has got and play them clumsily. How do I get to a point where I can enjoy that as a process?

Anyway, I’m playing backstage at Glastonbury this year and you’re not. Fuck it, at least I’ll get some free beer.

Meanwhile, thanks to Matt at that blog which is a very long acronym I keep forgetting for posting an mp3 of Sex, Boots & Dread, a reggae pastiche on an old Tappa Zukie rhythm (I can’t even bring myself to type riddim!) that I’ve had on tape for nearly 20 years and could never trace.
?“east west north and south, me tek it up me arse and me tek it in me mouth” indeed.

Who’d have thought it was Keith Allen

If the coke addled fucker is hanging around the dance backstage area when I’m on I’ll play the tune just to alarm him.

Next week: Dubversion stops whining when he realises that Whitney was right, and that learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.

meanwhile, remember: it's better to die on your feet than live in Neasden.



Monday, June 02, 2003

well that cocked up fine style, didn't it? why didn't the links work?

ah well - if you cared, the link for john eden's blog was and the link for urban 75's bulletin board was


is it just me, or is goth / 'goff' actually coming back, by the way? i mean, nu metallers are just goths with more extreme piercings, but that evanescence tune really is All About Eve welded onto a dreadful Linkin Park tune, and as for those ads for 'The Dark Side Of The Eighties' - sweet jesus, nooooo!
people are always telling me i should write, i always wanted to make a living that way. but i genuinely don't feel like i have anything worthwhile to say. i can slag things off, snipe from the sidelines, but i'm rarely willing (or able) to stick my neck out and actually assert anything, nail my colours to any particular mast.

i mean, my inspiration for finally setting up a Blog was reading john's at and matt's one at hollow earth - funny, informative, querolous, well informed.

but then, ironically enough, these same blogs that inspired me have also crippled my confidence about writing anything - nauseating levels of erudition and clarity of thought on display have fair taken the wind out of my sails. so what do i do? just go back to and start another argument?

Sunday, June 01, 2003

so today is the 10th anniversary of my dad dying, and as usual i feel pretty numb about it.

i'd like to pretend it's because i have my grief or whatever under control and can dip into it in some way. in truth, it's just because it's so uncontrolled that it only sticks its head above the fucking parapets when i'm particularly drunk or low anyway.
which is nice.

i did think about going to my hometown to meet my sister and visit the viewpoint where we scatted his ashes, but some little ratfaced boys have nicked the tree we planted and im reliably informed that there is now a little bin in its place.

although the potential humour in standing in remembrance round a bin does have a certain dark appeal, i decided to pass.

... and so it goes.

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