Nottingham to Notting Hill. A Quick trip to the East Midlands by funky hairdryer and another to West London by bike. Again, I play, I dance, shoot, collect a few simple images that somehow symbolise the state of our nation. In Nottingham we see the classic pedestrianised shopping street, emptied of people when the retail day ends; empty of real human spirit, life and energy all the time; scary with groups of boys, drunk beyond reason, because they think thatâ€™s what boys do, shouting at fat girls with pink plastic phones and pink plastic nails and peroxide straw hair and tiny trotters, wondering why they canâ€™t get a shag. In London, for two days only, the street becomes the party. One million people, 50 sound systems, all that bass and so much love as the Carnival celebrates 64 years of demonstration, music and roots and culture. As we celebrate the wonderful eccentricity and creativity and diversity of humanity in the city. As we think of the future, the possibilities and the probabilities. Take this: The church of alcohol, the local spiritual centre becomes the local spirit seller as Pitcher & Piano, the bar chain, take over an old church. Who needs religion when youâ€™ve got booze? Take this: The English flag, the proud cross of Saint George, the red and white, in all itâ€™s glory, 2010 style. Take this: Music in the streets, love is the message, street corner classics on the decks, sunshine in our hearts, the biggest free street party in Europe, sometimes, maybe, music is the answer. Take this: New moves on the tarmac dancefloor. In this yearâ€™s sound clash in our preferred area – Good Times vs Aba Shanti vs Sancho Panza, itâ€™s Aba Shanti that comes out on top. More bass power, more sunshine energy. Wave your flag, wave your flag.
In this weekâ€™s episode itâ€™s all a bit epic and heroic, thereâ€™s the Epic Last Song from Skream at the end of the show; an epically long tune from Owiny Sigoma and a heroic classic from Suicide next to something from the massive Arcade Fire, plus the usual deep house, Balearic and acoustic business. Itâ€™s all here. [setlist] Akabu – A Little Bit Of Kaos – Z Records No Regular Play – Doesnâ€™t Matter – Wolf + Lamb Mark Seven – Swept Away – Kompakt Kathy Diamond – Love Saves The Day (Soul Clap Remix) – Needwant The Project Club – Leaves Of Millfield – Needwant Cessa – Recon – Missing Link Sound Bara Brost – Fraulein Lea – BBE Owiny Sigoma Band – Doyoi Nyajo Nam – Brownswood The Sleeping Years – Cattle & Cain – Loaf Recordings Arcade Fire – Half Light 1 – Mercury Suicide – Dream Baby Dream – Island Skream – The Epic Last Song – Tempa
Welcome to the drunk nation, Bank Holiday bar wars, Hoxton mayhem, Dray Walk delirium. Welcome to wild scenes at the Big Chill Bar, dancing and jumping and drinking but mostly drinking, bar three deep all night, improvised dancefloors all over the shop. I forgot to take pics of the people again, so I hope a bicycle, a bagel and a beer bottle will satisfy your image craving. And inbetween mixes and sips of Innes & Gunn (itâ€™s sooooo nice, honestly) I was talking to Tom and we were saying: Thereâ€™s something happening in London City, a new feeling that feels like an old feeling. Itâ€™s starting to feel like the 80s again. You know, before acid house – Thatcher (it still makes me shiver just to type her name), unemployment, hard times, everything kind of rubbish, no proper clubs, no money. Anyway, Iâ€™m getting ahead of, or should that be behind, myself. Thereâ€™s something happening in London, there are hardly any proper clubs left, all the action is in bars, early, sort of dancing and a lot of drinking. The breweries have won the battle with the dealers for the hearts and minds of the 20 and 20 somethings, Blairâ€™s babies, the ones who grew up with cheap credit and cheap flights and easy access to education and healthcare and everything, lots of luxury clobber and handbags and jobs and all those things that came so easy that they took them for granted. And they are here now, still doing it, getting pissed like thereâ€™s no tomorrow. Theyâ€™re still docile and drunk and donâ€™t realise that they are about to be hit by a very large and extremely heavy lorry with Double Dip Recession painted in big red letters down the side. And thatâ€™s why it feels right to play The Specials and Madness again, because the hard times are coming back. I remember it, of course, it feels familiar. For generation credit itâ€™s going to be a shock. But it is the boy Wâ€™s generation who will be hit hardest, hard enough for them to fight back; his generation who will get angry that they canâ€™t go to college, canâ€™t get jobs, canâ€™t get credit, canâ€™t get respect from the old people in charge; canâ€™t make sense of the old people who screwed everything up, spent all the money then got them to take the consequences; canâ€™t understand this lot who go out and get drunk like nothingâ€™s happened. It will be his generation who will make the change, make new stuff happen, shake things up, go punk, go renegade; his generation who will hit the coalition with boom, raw power, right in the bollocks, where it hurts. Singing: all I wanna do is boom, click, kerching, and take your mo-ney.
Blue skies over London and my first visit to Stamford Bridge after the Summer break, for a not very taxing game against Stoke City. It feels like coming home. I’m disappointed that the beer has changed, though I never liked the old one and they all taste the same anyway. But the Zigger-zagger man is here in full throaty voice (there’ still only one of him too). Alex, in the row behind, is as grumpy as ever, even though we win, comfortably, 2-0. Alex, on the pitch, is solid and dependable and, even though not so Super Frank misses a penalty, as the final whistle blows and we discover Tottenham have gone down 1-0 to Wigan, at home too, everything is, for a few moments at least, in it’s right place, and life feels organised and under control and simple and fine.
Searching for a new aesthetic, a new sound for the album after Feel Free Live Good. Inspiration comes from funny places, the boy W writing – Suicide – Dream Baby Dream in my Moleskine, leading me to buy it leading to a new track called Dream Baby Forever. The scratches on my boots needing a little polish leading to the hardware store leading to Dales Dubbin. New York, London, Dub, not sure where the Dales come in yet but I’m sure it will become clear soon enough. PS, the boots looks like new, all shiny and ready for action.