Saturday, 28 January 2017
Here's a couple of videos from UK radio legend, Tim Westwood (forget the second one's Eminem title which is very misleading).
Filmed fairly recently he talks about his past and how he got to where he is today via his clubbing days.
The guy is nearly 60 years old and is doing well for his age. As for his music choices now, he plays strictly for the clubs and according to Westwood himself that has always been paramount regardless that he once was the go-to guy for those rap exclusives in the early 1990s and led the way rather than be told what to play.
Good to see that he acknowledges the UK pioneers but overall he comes across as odd in these clips - to me at least.
What is it about Westwood? My feelings for the guy change all the time. His attitude to the heyday of the UK sound are very much 'been there, done that, leave it in the past'.
I've long thought that someone of his stature could host a regular BBC Radio 2/BBC 6 Music show of classic hip hop in the evening. Imagine, two hours of all the sub-genres of hip hop where Westwood could play from three decades and drop some of the rarely-heard interviews, jingles and mixes from his old shows, the Marley Marl New York hook-ups as well as the Break To The Beat Version Excursions - remember them?
Aaah, it's all pie in the sky, rose-tinted specs stuff. But wouldn't it be great?
Wednesday, 11 January 2017
So here we are, 2017. Another year older and if I'm honest, another year more disillusioned.
This is the ninth year that I have been blogging and as much as it would be a blast I don't see me making it to ten. No I haven't got some incurable disease or anything, it's just that I have been having a period of introspection lately.
For the past three weeks I've had a really nasty bout of flu which pretty much wiped me out all over Christmas (and my much-awaited NYC trip). This meant much bed-time and amongst the seriously-strange hallucinatory nights I began a time of thinking about stuff.
What does ABU mean to you?
I bet it means a lot less than it used to. It certainly does to me. These days it has become a place where I advertise my latest DJ-ing gig. Who really wants to visit the blog to be told that? No one living anywhere more than 20 miles of Norwich that's for sure.
I feel like I have nothing left to offer you any more. Blogs are dead. I'm surprised ABU has shuffled on this far into the millennium. Facebook (cough) and other social media sites seem to be where it's really at nowadays rather than some antiquated Blogging platform - sorry Blogger, but you really are looking old. I even dabbled with a few Wordpress templates which looked nice and fancy but that would've been starting again from the ground up. Hey, no probs I like a good challenge but at the end of the day again, what is it all for?
I need to think about whether I stop the Blog for good or do I just start something else?
Moving on to another point. The podcast.
I love making the ABU podcasts. Trust me, the little, iddy-biddy pieces of editing that I do that I know no one but me knows that I've done it is just the sort of geeky delight which floats my proverbial boat. In truth though the shows take a lot of time but that's mostly due to my perfectionist nature. I could bang out a show in a couple of days but I want each one to be as good as I can make it which usually means beginning the next as soon as the last is complete. Many late nights contribute to them and much focus is taken away from my family to do them.
When my youngest daughter once drew a picture of our family and I was shown as the figure in the corner hunched over my laptop then this was the wake-up call I needed.
Going through the figures on Hearthis.com tells me that I get listens from as low as 71 to as high as 131 for some shows giving an average of around 95 plays per show. Add the monthly live stream listeners from Disco Scratch which amounts to something like 20 and I suppose the results are okay. Not brilliant but again not some I'm-putting-my-head-in-the-oven statistics.
I missed the December podcast slot as I was away. This month's excuse is that I'm still not 100% back to normal health. I'm thinking about scrapping the regularity of the shows anyway and perhaps the surprise of one day seeing a teaser poster for an upcoming irregular ABU podcast may be the kick up the bottom it needs to send listeners into a frenzy. Maybe? Maybe not.
ABU was never a vanity project for me. If anything it was an outlet to pour out my scribblings of what I liked about hip hop at the time, sometimes uploading albums when I felt like it such as the Electro series and the odd Mike Allen cassette rip. The podcast came after doing one for a college project and enjoying it enough to do it for real.
Thank you to anyone that has ever been a part of ABU in any way. There have been many supporters over the years and I want to send heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you. Some of you have been there from the beginning and are still here now while some have drifted off along the way for whatever reason. One man, Ramses has supported from year zero and although just the occasional comment left on a post still means you're around. Thank you.
Of course it goes without saying that the mighty Disco Scratch and Style Warrior have been solid stalwarts in my corner and staunch supporters of all things ABU - Waxer & LG, thank you.
By the way whilst typing this I am listening to one of the greatest DJ mixes I have had the pleasure to hear - DJ Super JB's mix for The Hip Hop Sessions. An hour of electro funk mixed with the finesse of Mastermind on the GLI. He has remastered it especially with the goal of it appearing on the next ABU podcast. You will love it. The Chuckles won't.
Anyway, to paraphrase Public Enemy, the future of ABU is in doubt.
Since I initially typed this out at the weekend it has laid dormant for a few days whilst I have been thinking about hitting the 'Publish' button.
Since then however..... breaking news...... Both Disco Scratch AND Style Warrior have decided to shut up shop this week. Yep, these two mighty components of musical masterpieces in the UK scene are disbanding. No more Thursdays hunched around the radio at 9pm. No more interaction in the chatroom.
This is all a bit bizarre and actually has pretty much made my mind up for me now.
Here are their statements:
Disco Scratch: http://discoscratch.co.uk/2017/01/11/stick-a-fork-in-me-im-done/
Style Warrior: http://www.stylewarrior.co.uk/farewell/