Sunday, October 10, 2010

the end of an era?


pull quote from the piece:

Geneeus insists that radio kept him on the straight and narrow.

"Everyone I knew at school is in prison," he says. "I do feel a responsibility to show young people that there is an alternative. That there are other ways of doing what you want in life."

some people in the past have accused me of romanticizing the whole ruffneck/"street knowledge"/ghetto culture that spawned jungle and grime

on the contrary, what i romanticize is the attempt to find another path through all that negativity, a way out... those who manage to do something constructive and aesthetically potent, in circumstances where the economic and social odds are stacked against them... i find that inspiring and compelling... and i will continue to believe that this "rise above" spirit brings an extra dimension to the music.... an impetus, an edge, a hunger that is palpable... and that is absent in other musics which, whatever their virtues, do not come from the same kind of place. the evidence that this is so is overwhelming.

1 comment:

jdietrich said...

Absolutely. It's such a difficult thing to talk about without falling into cliche and there are so many who would patronise or sneer, but it is vital and important and utterly extraordinary.

The only thing I can relate it to is boxing - it's like an aura that exudes from young men who feel they have nothing to lose and no other options. When you watch a fighter like Barry McGuigan, it feels like the only time you see a human being in their entirety - it's like he's holding nothing back because he has nothing to protect. I feel grubby and voyeuristic and feel sick at how utterly privileged I am, but I also feel like I'm witnessing something that cuts right to the heart of what it means to be alive.

When there was that row about Lethal Bizzle's "Pow!" I realised something about myself and the way I see the world. It was criticised as mindlessly aggressive, but I felt like I absolutely understood that repeated "Pow!". It sounded to me like the bark of a cornered dog, like a caged man kicking in vain at the bars that trap him. There's something your body does when you're under threat but have nowhere to run and it is fucking horrible. I consider myself fortunate to have felt like that only intermittently, but it has had a profound effect on me. I cannot begin to imagine what being trapped in your ends would do to you, what it might feel like to be too afraid to walk past the end of your road.

I can think no greater indictment of how the British treat their young people than any random selection of grime mixtapes.