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{Wednesday}

 
That PLW quote yesterday got me wondering ... whether it isn't precisely the huge volume of stories about Blair and Bush that somehow protects them, that is its own shiny slick Coat of Babel ... how many times in the past few years have you turned on the TV to hear all the Westminster pundits earnestly and solemnly discussing whether "Mr Blair could survive this latest blah blah blah" ...? As tho politics werent the art of "survival", of living on borrowed time. Bush and Blair both have walked charmlessly unconcerned through 'scandals' that would have rocked previous administrations to the flaky core; both have perfected this Not Listening Grin, a grin that is half Idiot Boy and half Takin Care uh Business... which is only right, really. If they had to read everything that was written about them these days they would never do anything else. There's not a hint of a leak of the tiniest who-cares piss-stain 'scandal' these days (Cherie demands fee, Number 10 sells autographed Kelly report, etc etc etc) before there's pro-columns and then anti columns written abut the pro columns and then anti pro anti-anti columns ... and then reasoned round-ups of all the opposing arguments... we have to tune-out, or we'd wig out.

(I remember once on the old 42 bus I used to take from Camberwell into town in the early 80s, this old wild eyed dosser, Special Brew aura, cardboard bricolage coat, bristly mutter mutter, and as we passed the Houses of Parliament he cackled like the Tour Guide from Hell: "Aaach! A thousand barking DOGS!" )

One of the reasons people got momentarily misty eyed about
Spitting Image recently was that it reminded them of a time when - like the old music press - there was A Weekly Moment when things crystallised, or seemed to, when you had to see what "They" would Say About It, whether It was some political gaffe or the new Clash LP.

But even if there were a "Sex Pistols" style irruption on the horizon tomorrow, it would only be "exciting" for a few ... hours? a couple of days? , before it was insecapably "everywhere". A G2 cover. A Yahoo News Story. A More 4 i-dent. A Heat cover. Their "revolutionary" new sound used as music for the latest i-POD advert. ...
Everywhere and ... Nowhere.
You wouldnt have to "wait" to see what the hip (London) people had to say about it, because 43,000 web sites and blogs would already have exhausted you with every possible P.O.V.
You would have maybe done your own remix of their unreleased hot 45 before the "big" record companies had even got their hands on anything about them.

Thats the problem with Temporary Autonmous Zones: some of 'em are going to be a lot more temporary than others. And one of the paradoxes about being an exciting buzz on the margins - as Dubstep is at the moment say (+ e.g., everyone from Goldie to So Solid to Dizzee Rascal, not to mention all the post-Docherty Antic Monkeys in the last few years*) - is that your conventional first move (in a mini interview given to a fan-site fanzine say) is to diss the 'mainstream' media and complain about how they dont check you out or take you seriously. The problem is (and this is especially true of the myriad subsets of post-E or post-Rap or post-Garage idiomatics), the moment your collectivity-based day-to-day pre-release 12" dubplate existence IS taken seriously by the 'mainstream' media and you are suddenly Q&A'd and profiled and photographed to kingdom come, then whatever the (im)pulse that fed into your monomanical Take No Prisoners project, it immediately seems to scatter and dizzipate... the energy of collective aspiration sort of goes ppppft, and deflates somehow.

(I mean: ONE of you is just naturally going to be far more of a stand-out photogenic bigmouth media darlin than the others, isn't it? Although, paradoxically, the odds are that same media darling will end up broke and perplexed and Prozac'd, and hiring lawyers to sort out endless disputes over image rights to an Image that died 5 years ago; while the 'quiet one' of the crew will be making millions doing background music in Hollwyood for the CSI franchise and cutting edge Nike adverts, & the like...)

If you take East/South London rap/grime/garage/etc as a paradigm, it is essentially rhizomatic, slightly but not completey 'underground', a constant clamour + buzz of constantly updated ways of routing and re-routing (not rooting) that clamour, klangoour and rewind buzz... constantly twisted and shaded and undercut ways of telling the same local stories in a brash bright-light new way. (The paradigm pretty much remains JA sound system clashes. 'DIS HERE the sound that goes around. Alll the other sound STAAAAND down!') Constantly updating your response to the snap of tomorrow and the haunt of whats gone before. But how to reconcile the local with the national?

I'm sure that a lot of people will prefer Dubstep to Grime, precisely because all the inescapably 'local' accents have been stripped from its surface.
("Dis ah LOCAL trend for dem LOCAL bwoy!": League of GrimeBwoy Dem!) All the wide boy boast and toast and titter and paranoid squeak - well, it's entertaining for a song or two, but maybe not en masse; me, frankly, I get enough of that already on the N7 street where I live (12 year olds with sloppy waist jeans around their bollocks making with the 'goat stare' at me demanding a Respect they barely know the spelling, never mind the meaning of; schizophonic neighbours giving marijuana-Mussolini speeches from their balconies that somehow manage to conflate Bush, Blair and "jungle muuuuuuuusiiiiic!"; constant swear and spit and yell and laughter and "Hofficer it was NAT ME..."; scooter whine and football chant and Friday night panic and crack dealer crab walk whispah ...) - so when I shut the door I dont want it bouncing out my speakers again.

At the same time - even tho' I personally prefer Dustep to Grime**, I suspect that Grime 's "fate" - that it will just pop like a pimple and disappear, or mutate into some sarky and cheap and sulky and naaasty "new" variant - is by far the better option than what will probably happen toDubstep ... Mercury Prizes, concept albums, jazz rock noodle time on Jools Holland, MASS ACCLAIM... a thousand points of media light.

An unsparing, sapping light.


*{
... I was just idly wondering if maybe Tricky wasnt the first 'victim' of all this, maybe? )

**{(Altho I have to say that sometimes, 40 minutes into a 70 minute CD like the Burial one - which has some achingly wistful and shatteringly haunting tracks -I do kind of feel the dread words AMBIENT DUB slowly creeping up on me and tap tap taping me on the ear lobe, I'm sorry, but I do, and I have the tapes from 94 and 95 to prove it; you just need to notch up the RPMs a bit in some cases... Not that any comparisons with 'Ambient Dub' necessarily constitute any kind of low slur; I played those compilations - 'Ambient Dub' Volumes 1-3' - to death at the time.

posted by Ian 7/05/2006 07:34:00 AM

Comments:
I do sometimes find the dread words AMBIENT DUB slowly creeping up on me and tap tap taping me on the ear lobe, I'm sorry, but I do, and I have the tapes from 96 and 97 to prove it

At long last, someone speaks the truth
 
shot cuz...

...feeling them words

chur
 
Salut! Sad, but true...
 
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