Sunday, 27 July 2008
So the website's bursting with content now. Contributors include Bibi Van Der Zee (Guardian), Ethical Consumer, Rahul Verma (Metro), Sarah Bentley (Fader), Mahta Hassanzadeh (LIVE), Kieran Yates (LIVE), Richard Lemmer (LIVE), Bertan Budak (LIVE, Fabulous), Russell Myrie (The Voice), Hattie Collins (RWD) and many more. I'm going to start doing an editors blog, I just can't seem to work out on what just yet.
If you still don't have the mag, go to articles and sign up to download the PDF version. There's new articles up on the site daily so keep checking back if you're looking for some positive education in this world where the art of nothing sells.
We're always looks for submissions too, so if you have anything to get off your chest albeit words, art, video, whateverrrrrr just get in touch. I even have a new she-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org
LIVE issue 29 is out now. If you're in south London you may have already bagged a copy, if not feel free to drop us a line and we'll try and hook you up (email@example.com).
This time around we've focused on sexual health down south, the results of our survey proving quite shocking. Sian and Jelani even found themselves on LBC Radio this weekend discussing it. Excellent show Tre! Also in this issue, author Patrick Ness, the Comedy Store, how to improve your dancefloor status, Adulthood star Scarlett Alice Johnson, Ssfety Box, the pros and cons to getting a tattoo, whether moving out is all it's cracked up to be, a dummies guide to Korfball, the realities of living with HIV and teen pregnancy, Jammer, Soulja Boy, Cooking With DJ Ironik at Shish in Willsden Green, young people's opinion on the reclassification of cannabis, London Breakbeat Orchestra, Sway launches the Platform2 volunteering (for free) overseas project and much more.
Shop of the week: A new sweet shop, Suck Chew I think it's called, has opened down Columbia Road, E2. They've got all the old classics like apple sours and cola cubes. They tested them to make sure they rip your mouth to shreds to definitely the proper old skool ones. These guys specialise in anything you'd expect to find in Willy Wonka's back room so check it if you're in the area. Excuse me while I draw for a fruit salad.
Good book recommendation: This week James Frey 'My Friend Leonard' comes in top of the pile. I much preferred it to the classic 'A Million Little Pieces', which I still advise you read mind. James Frey also happens to be taking at this weeks Book Slam, Thursday at 12 Acklam Road. Tickets are selling fast, only £6 in advance. www.bookslam.com
Music to actually bother with: http://www.myspace.com/claremaguire. She's not letting off much info yet but trust me she's going to be big. Also got sent a new Neon Hitch track but prefer the 'Cocaine' track over at www.myspace.com/neonhitch. I saw a pic of her in one of the London tabloidy sections and turns out she lives with Amy Winehouse so no doubt they'll be more heat on her soon. In terms of what's out there, of course I purchased JME's album, 'Standard' is probably the standout for me on there. Having seen Jill Scott live last week, I'm repping all the albums to the max along with a disco remix of the Mystery Jets 'Half In Love...', featuring Kate Nash on backing vocals.
Product of the week: Without a doubt, the Britney Shears doll. Get me one now. I will draw beautiful designs on her scalp with my new set of multi-coloured permanent markers. I collect stationary as well as Barbie pics you see.
FIDDY'S WORLD OF WHATEVER
Seeking some self-improvement in her life, journo, consultant, blogger, mentor and Barbie fanatic Chantelle Fiddy (tries to) find a a life. This month: Hip-hop karaoke.
I hate karaoke. Like really hate karaoke. Unless it's good. But then there aren't many people at the local with lungs like Leona or a range like Rover (or Mariah). Ever heard of Simon Cowell snapping up Lucy Few-Notes who sang a rendition of 'I Will Always Love You' at The White Horse? No? Exactly. And that's the problem. The world of karaoke is filled with people like Lucy, resigned to exercising any vocal control they actually possess in the form of karaoke because that's the only way they'll ever get heard. I look at the Lucy's and while a tear may form in my left eye, it's a result of the sad thoughts that envelop me. "Poor Lucy, she never made it, now she has to sing karaoke, but she's like soooo good. I wish I could sing like that."
But worse than the Lucy's, who are tolerable when under the influence, are the group of singers referred to as Carol - these singers know all the words but can they sing in tune despite having rehearsed the song like 20 times? Hell no.
The final group are Terry Tune-Out's, the rowdy, pissed up party people and tourists who in a 20 strong crew, shout the lyrics to 'Valerie', further killing Amy Winehouse and any chance she has of recovery in the process.
But the one thing that unites all the karaoke massive is the need to sing the same songs. All. The. Time. So on a recent trip to Portugal, ear drums ruptured and sick to the tonsils with covers of 'Angels', 'American Pie', 'How Deep Is Your Love' any anything by Frank Sinatra, I decided to flip the karaoke bitch on her back.
The nerves kicked in after I put in my request to do a Snoop Dogg classic. When someone asked me where I was from I replied "Compton", just to get into character ahead of my mic onslaught. Having slowly realised that this was going to be the clean version, which I didn't know, I decided to throw caution to the wind and opened with a gnarly "What's my mother f**kin' name?".
The clientele at Monty's didn't know what had hit them. Stood still, mouth's open, we were either really damn good or shocking beyond belief. With RWD editor Hattie Collins chucking in hype man antics, Miguel, a local bar man, grabbed a mic to deal the ad-libs and as far as we were concerned, Monty's could bar us if they were some elite anti-hip-hop establishment. Looking into the eyes of one discerning OAP i dropped "she wants the guy with the biggest nuts..." Tell me that mo fo won't be forgetting this night or holiday for a while. Having been faded out before Collins could let rip on the "Doggy Dogg" part, the Karaoke gatekeeper pointed a finger to Miguel and said something which roughly translated to "If only I'd known." Which is the point exactly. The karaoke guru only knows about 20 songs because that's all that ever gets sung. Please, we can't beat them so join me in this karaoke revolution and put the outcasts back on the pad.
If you fancy a go at Hip Hop karaoke check http://www.hiphopkaraokelondon.co.uk.
I was really pleased with this piece and think it's a really important subject. Crack has definitely become more acceptable, whether that's down to the likes of Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty's drug taking being glamorised in the media or not. In many ways, If you read Tamsin's profile, in certain groups it seems crack has gone full circle; back in the acid house days when it popped up it was seen as a cool drug. Where did it all go wrong? Have you watched Crack Heads Gone Wild? Answers on an e-card please (and I'm not talking pills...)
I've put the profiles below for your reading ease. Thanks to those who agreed to be interviewed and shared their own experiences with the drug, I know it wasn't easy.
Words: Chantelle Fiddy
“I first experimented with crack when I was 19. It had just become really cool on the acid house scene. I never ever believed I’d become addicted like I did, I didn’t even know anything about crack… I shied away from cocaine because I thought it was worse, I was very naïve.
Within seven weeks of trying it I was hooked. Living by myself there was no one to stop me. And I was already involved in crime. I went from smoking a spliff to spending £90 a night, seven days a week, smoking crack till 6am. I smoked it like a spliff, mixing it with a little bit of tobacco… there was this idea that you weren’t like the crack heads if you didn’t use a pipe. Towards the end I piped though. The hit with a pipe is instant, I’d get sick straight away, have diarrhoea, it was disgusting…You see It’s not even that the high’s that great, it’s that the low is so low. That’s what people don’t understand. The low is fucking unbearable.
The more I smoked it the more I lost my morals, the more hardened I became, the more cut-off from society I became, the more entrenched in crime I became. And I also developed a huge ego – the more fucked up you become the more you believe the rest of society are a bunch of wankers and you’re really great.
But at 21 I visited Jamaica and got the shock of my life; whereas in England the gangsters and it girls did it, crack addicts over there were vilified, you were like scum of the earth. I got into trouble robbing people, but the (weed) dealer I was working for took mercy on me. They took my friend to the airport but told me I wasn’t going home. I thought I was going to be kidnapped and raped. He told me my friend Janet was actually a drugs mule and on the game, while I was a deluded, skinny, ugly crack addict. He took me to stay with his wife and daughter and they kept me there, going cold turkey for nine weeks.
I’ve been clean since. It took me some time, but I got my degree, had a beautiful daughter and have worked for some of the worlds leading brands.
As for Carol, she got 10 years for drugs trafficking and is still using (but she’s got no teeth now). Trust me when I say it’s a life-destroying drug. Three years ago my brother, Steven, killed himself because of it - he said If he ever relapsed on crack he’d kill himself so as not to go through it again. And that’s what he did. He couldn’t bare the thought. He was 31.
I’ve had to cut out any crack users from my life, that’s the mistake he made, hanging around with users. That’s why you always see Pete Doherty and Amy Winehouse together. She should have been prosecuted and put in jail by now, the media have totally glamorised it. I also think that if she was a black singer she would have been treated differently - look at Ol Dirty Bastard or Bobby Brown and the way the industry treated them, they became outcasts. It’s disgusting."
“While people still view crack as the drug for down and outs, homeless people or those who can’t afford coke, that’s not the complete picture. I’ve been occasionally using since I was 23, when I was introduced to it at an after-party. My boyfriend and I started smoking it at weekends – not using a pipe but smoking it like a spliff – before going clubbing (and there were a lot of big London clubs you could get away with smoking it in too). If we had leftovers we’d use up our stash on a Sunday. I was no newcomer to drugs having frequently taken pills, speed, LSD and coke since I was 16. Crack is cheaper but it’s not even about that; the buzz for me is unrivalled. But I only began smoking it because I know myself. Some people think addictive personalities are a figment of the imagination but I’d argue otherwise. I can quite easily go without It for weeks at a time. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for my boyfriend for whom it became a full-time habit when he lost his job. I felt guilty about that… But when things in the flat started going missing, I had to end the relationship. I stopped using as much after that but If I ever felt myself getting onto a slippery path, I’d stop. For now I’m trying to make the most of my party years though.”
“I worked with a crack and heroin addict for a number of years. I’d tried to help him but could never quite get into where he was coming from. I thought, maybe, if I tried it I could understand and help him sort himself out. There was also another side to crack that I’d seen; people using it for a good time.
A few years ago it wasn't really acceptable to talk about it, but since Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty have become media darlings, the social acceptance of crack has shocked me. A lot more people are fessing up to having tried it... I've seen two very different sides to the drug though.
My mate at work could function but was a nightmare; mood swings, frequent absence from the office, depression… But the other set were having the time of their lives, or so it seemed.
I tried it at someone’s house. It was rolled up with some tobacco and smoked. There was never any talk of pipes and I probably wouldn’t have tried it if that had been the case. The buzz was immense, and I could see how easily addictive it could be. I’m lucky that I’m not someone who’s ever tried a drug then developed a habit but had I not known an addict, I can’t say I wouldn’t have smoked it again. Drugs like that are best left alone. I left my job afterwards cause I knew he had to save himself. Unfortunately, that’s not yet happened. I'll be sticking to alcohol and weed."
On The Scene
When Turnmills closed three month ago, events like Together lost their home.
But following a three-month siesta, which was needed following Fatboy Slim and the Chemical Brothers sets at the finale party, the promoters are set to re-launch the event at Scala, Kings Cross, this Saturday.
Reinstating their position on the clubbing league, they’ve decided to throw an ‘animal rave’ which basically means, you can expect to see a number of Londoners looking like they’ve escaped from London Zoo or the RSPCA this weekend. The team are also recommending you look for inspiration from sealife creatures, household pets, safari wildlife, birds, bugs, dinosaurs and even, errr, Pat Butcher (hey, they said it not us). If you’re struggling with what to wear, be among the first 200 punters through the door and you’ll receive a free animal mask. With a Noah’s Ark Procession intended for the dancefloor, although the dresscode is optional, don’t be a spoil sport and mess up the photo opportunity. If DIY costumes aren’t your bag, shops like Escapades in Camden have plenty of stock ready to rent.
If you’re really stuck, Together will be re-introducing their penchant for giving free haircuts and face painting, something which always proved popular with past Together attendees.
Gimmicks aside, you can expect the music to be as cutting edge as before. Ed Banger Record’s, home to the likes of Mr Oizo, Uffie and Justice, will be sending Busy P and fellow Parisian prince DJ Mehdi in for deck duties in the main room: Dragon’s Den. One of my current favourites and with 59,000 friends on MySpace, it would suggest Mehdi is worth checking out if you haven’t already. Upstairs (The Birdcage) is hosted by reliable residents Streetlife DJs, and sticking with the French electro theme, support comes from Surkin (Institubs) and Yusek (Kitsune), with Dusty Kid provides wonky acid techno. Boy 8-Bit headline The Viper Room, hosted by dollop. Tickets are £20 on the door - running from 10pm – 6am, it’s well worth it.
Sticking with the dressing up theme, HatClub are at SeOne, London Bridge, this Saturday. If this is a new one to you then it’s simple – you just have to wear a hat of some description. While there’s always a competitive streak in who can find the best headwear, expect it to be ten times worse this week what with Ascot fever in the air. If you’re not down with wearing a fruit bowl monstrosity, a baseball cap, bowler, or beret still get a thumbs up.
A firing house selection comes from Jonathan Ulysses, who’s celebrating his tenth year as resident for Space in Ibiza, with Brighton duo Prok & Fitch (check their track ‘Outro Lugar’), and The Beatthiefs, who’ve been putting on HatClub in Dubai and are the latest residents to join the team, will be among those keeping your head bopping till 6am. Tickets are £15 or more on the door.
A version of this article appeared in thelondonpaper
On The Scene
Clubbing can often make you feel your age, well the morning after at least.
Last Thursday I hit Plan B in Brixton, where I’d been asked to spin some tunes alongside RWD Magazine editor Hattie Collins, for the launch of a new night, Moji. But when I say spin, what I mean really is press play. I will confess to been quite scared of technology and relying on banging tunes alone (Rusko’s ‘Cockney Thug’ and Lil Wayne’s ‘Milli’ garnering enough response to stop the punters walking out). At least Collins did some pull-ups.
Downstairs, switching up the program, DOTS, the brainchild of photographer and dubstep lover Georgina Cook, which is soon set to expand and take a Friday night slot – perfect for people who like me who struggle on four hours sleep - bubbled away in the basement.
Unfortunately, while we had ample supporters up top, the gathering crowd had come to witness The Thirst, who were playing a live set. With tickets costing only a fiver, the crowd and band were in high spirits, thanks to their debut album, On The Brink, hitting stores last week. The Brixton bands are, without a doubt, my top thing right now. Favored by many people who wouldn’t ordinarily listen to rock, they’re bringing together grime heads, rude boys, hip-hop lovers and those skinny jean-wearing sorts, who’d pick Pete Doherty over their mum. The first act to be signed to Ronnie Woods label, Wooden Records, the Rolling Stones legend knows what he’s doing, even if the upper echelons of the music press are failing to pick up on them. I’m just gutted MTV filmed me at the front losing all will to stop sweating; such is the way I get down. If you’ve yet to hear of them or see them live, The Thirst will be making their mark at festivals this summer and a spate of club performances so keep your eyes peeled. But rest assured, nights like this are going to help put Brixton back on the mid-week clubbing map.
In the meantime, Fidgit, Plan B’s long running Friday night hop-hop homage, who’ve welcomes the likes of Aaron La Crate, Cash Money, Norman Jay and Jazzie B over the last few months, welcome DJ Kayper this week. Jazzy Jeff reckons she’s “the best female DJ he’s ever seen.” And that’s saying something. Another bargain, it’s free before 11pm, £6/ £8 after.
Come Saturday, Body Music has a dope double header lined-up, featuring French house maestro Franck Roger and former UK garage head and dubstep forerunner Zed Bias (who’s got too many aliases to list). Only a tenner on the door, you can afford to stay till it’s light outside. With a private smoking area at the back of the club, when you do actually leave Plan B, the only thing that would make the night better is if San Marino, the superb café opposite, were still cooking up meatballs, paninis and cappuccino’s at 5am. One can but hope.
A version of this article appeared in thelondonpaper.
NB This is the effect The Thirst have on people. I strongly advise buying the album if you haven't already. www.myspace.com/thethirst
Ps Oh and while I was there I bumped into Fury in the toilets. She's not MCing anymore. But she's well, looking great, having fun and working hard like us independent women do. It felt weird calling her Fury as a result, but old habits die hard.
On The Scene
Aquarium in Old Street seems to be having something of a renaissance. The only club in London to boast a swimming pool, it stood at the forefront of dance when the doors first opened 12 years ago, but as the superclub generally fell into decline in the late ‘90s, so it seemed did Aquarium. Popularised by stag and hen parties, or those who came to Shoreditch but couldn’t get down to cutting-edge electro or with men who had a serious penchant for glitter, it became less cool than skool.
Fast-forward and we’re seeing a return to healthy queues and pool parties with a difference on a Friday night. Kosheen DJs, Decoder and Substance will play a rare London set at Prologue’s event this week, bringing their trademark, dub-infected techno sounds down from Bristol. Likewise, hotly tipped electro-indie four-piece Viva City, who’s debut single ‘Kate Bush’, drops in late June, will supply throbbing baselines and melodic electronica. Tickets cost £12 (£8 concessions), just don’t forget your bikini or Speedos – the no nudity in the pool rule still stands after all this time.
In addition, if you’re looking for somewhere to crash for the after-party or to get refreshed from a raving burn-out, Aquarium have joined the league table of great anti-social clubbing times, Redlight Afterhours running from the early hour of 3.30am till 11am on Saturday, with more filthy electro, twisted techno and house comes from the likes of Joe Le Groove, Giles Smith (Secret Sundaze) and Severino (Horse Meat Disco).
Saturday nights still offer too much cheese for some, but in an area saturated with music that’s off the beaten track, let us embrace Car Wash with its hip hop, D&B, R&B and funk. Ok, so you might have to dodge a few groups of girls armed with L plates but it’s no worse than avoiding getting socked by a mullet in Bar Music Hall.
Making a mark elsewhere in Old Street, on Saturday, Aaron Ross, A&R at leading dance label Defected, alongside his production partner Neil Pierce, A&R at Soul Heaven, will be stamping their Fanatix moniker all over Herbal, Kingsland Road. Since mastering the studio credentials, Fanatix have notched up a batch of releases under their collective belt. ‘Love Connection’ featuring Alex Mills, proved to be quite a dance floor thriller making way for the Fanatix LP, This Thing Is Ours, due out at the end of the month on BBE, with guest appearances coming from the likes of Shaun Escoffery, Sarah Divine and X Factor contestant Dionne Mitchell (don’t hold it against her).
“DJing is an essential part of A&R, it’s where I road test a lot of tunes” explained Ross. “I was quite instrumental in the Todd Terry Allstars ‘Get Down’ record and have signed some bits for Strictly Rhythm, on more of an old skool tip. I definitely aspire to people like (my boss) Simon Dunmore or Pete Tong. It’s not that I want to do what they do, but it’s the way that they’re still hungry for music, even though they’re in their 40s. It’s really important to have that and not just do it for the moment.”
They’ll be live performances, on the night, coming from Dionne and Kadija Kamara (whose voice is on par with Lauryn Hill’s) with DJ Spen headlining deck duties. BBE host the upstairs room. Tickets are £5 before 10.30pm, £10 after.
A version of this article appeared in thelondonpaper.
Monday, 21 July 2008
Wednesday, 9 July 2008
I've been sooo busy and this is the reason one. I am editor of Ctrl+ Alt+ Shift. And it's an amazin project to be involved in. Truly.
Our mantra? We are a global community of outspoken agitators seeking change. We stand in solidarity with the abused, violated and the ignored. We don't stop until the suffering ends. Take control of your world, alter the way it works, and shift the way the future looks. Be part of the equation.
We are a free quarterly ethical lifestyle magazine aimed at an “increasingly apathetic youth market” (I'm quoting my main man Neil Boorman now, who's also heading up the project).
Features in issue 1 include Indian girls on the game, job profiles on shit shovellers, user syringe recyclers and Zinc miners, Jamaican gangsters trading the streets to become barbers, Plane Stupid, "I'm Carrying A Dead Baby In My Tummy", From Prison To Parliament: A story of gangs, guns and survival, Graffiti from Palestine, Man of the Cloth Richard Shoyemi and how to survive an earthquake. We also quiz teen girls to find out how much they think they're worth as brides with our man in Kenya, Kiruja, giving us the lowdown on how many cows they'd really trade for. There's also columns from Sway and Estelle.
With 40,000 copies now out and about in Don't Panic packs, you can also download it from www.ctrlaltshift.co.uk. Just go to articles, and Bob's your mothers uncle.
If you want more blurb, here's what RWD said:
Leading International development agency Christian Aid is ready to take on the issues that face a vast majority of the World’s youth. Launched today is a new experimental youth project aimed at tackling global issues and the plights of British youths.
Ctrl.Alt.Shift is the first of it’s kind to use ‘user-generated’ content. Young people can register their support on the Ctrl.Alt.Shift site (ctrlaltshift.co.uk) to join a global community of outspoken young radicals from all over the world, people who are working together to fight against global poverty and social injustice.
The message is simple. “The key mission of Ctrl.Alt.Shift is to bring about the democratisation of Charity, by being the first ‘consumer generated’ charity brand,” said Katrin Owusu, Head of Youth Marketing and Innovations at Christian Aid. “Using concepts of co-creation, the project will act as a vehicle for people to connect and take action by creating content and campaigns, sharing ideas and inspiring each other”.
“We want young people to engage with and understand these issues now, as they are an unavoidable part of their daily lives. We need to change attitudes, and increase the number of younger supporters. This is about driving radical and revolutionary agitation.”
So to get involved or simply have your say visit ctrlaltshift.co.uk.
I've been on holiday to Turkey (Hillside Su is amazing), Portugal (Vale De Lobo has a great beach), read 12 books in three weeks, have a piece in the new issue of Arena, my regular urban reviews and Wiley interview in Mixmag, plus there's my new column in RWD, enjoyed the response to my crack feature in thelondonpaper, LIVE 29 is about to hit the streets, stayed in an amazing London hotel, am planning a trip to Global Gathering, have had my hair cut off, got a tan, taken up doing power plates at 7am, got to see my boyfriend, am going to see friends and feel like a really lucky girl right now. Now if only the rain would stop.