Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I feel compelled to issue a statement clarifying my position as Barnet & Brent correspondent for WOOFAH magazine.

When I joined the title in 2007, I did so in good faith, believing that an independent mag for grime, dancehall and dubstep fans was inherently a positive move, and one that would sidestep the usual publishing concerns of boosting circulation and subscribers by rehashing any old shite from a press release.

As the events of the past fortnight have confirmed, this was sadly not the case.

First came the 'interview' with Leslie Lyrics in Issue 1. Had I known that the 'quotes' featured had been obtained by illegally hacking Professor Lyrics' Nokia 3110, I certainly wouldn't have contributed copy to the magazine. Unfortunately, it appears that the editorial team was content to pull the wool over my peepers as well as yours.

During my frequent visits to the WOOFAH office, I often spotted a man in a kaftan and sunglasses, clutching a large hessian sack marked SWAG, darting out of the back window and making his getaway in a badly beaten-up golf buggy, mere seconds before my arrival. Whenever I raised this with the editors, I was assured that everything was 'OK' and that it was most likely 'a neighbour, collecting milk bottles'. I received this answer six or seven times.

In fact, when I openly challenged the editor, to his face - Is the print run being bankrolled by Gadaffi? - he just looked me in the eye and categorically stated, "No".

We now know this to be a brazen lie.

But the lie didn't end there.

In 2010, a WOOFAH co-writer, whose identity will remain anonymous, met me in a pub near Warren Street and handed me a dossier of emails he'd collated over the previous two years. They paint a picture so gruesome I can scarcely bring myself to convey the horrors within.

The dossier included: proof that WOOFAH writers had phoned the Met to get London grime nights cancelled, just so they could submit articles about police heavy-handedness; AIM chat transcripts revealing that shipments of fresh new releases from international artists, forwarded to the magazine for review, had in fact been intercepted in Stoke Newington, redirected to Dublin and listed on eBay; proof that the infamous Droid v Eden 'Kings X clash' was staged - all 'live mixing' having been provided by a fellow WOOFAH hack, hidden under the table((a retrospective photo of the event, when enlarged, reveals that the decks weren't even connected to the amp)).

You, WOOFAH's loyal readers, deserved better.

It is with the utmost regret that I have to report that the person who provided this dossier cannot comment further on the situation. This is because he was found dead in his home, just two hours ago.

In light of the above, I therefore wish to announce that, with immediate effect, I am resigning from the zine and will henceforth cease to have any connection to WOOFAH whatsoever. I thoroughly reject any suggestion that I was aware of the foul play committed by the editorial team during my time on the zine, and must insist that any enquiries regarding the aforementioned crimes are directed to the former and present editors, as well as the dubstep editor, most likely.



Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Throughout my life, I've been accused of being a technophobe. I guess this stems back to 1985; while all the other kids were playing 'Donkey Kong 2', I was still trying to guide that blob of mercury through the maze. I personally think technophobia's a harsh one to pin on this cat. Maybe it's the technology that's flawed, and not me - ever thought about it like that??

I mean, take email: supposedly the greatest advance in instantaneous global communications since the carrier pigeon...and yet every memorable, genuinely enjoyable email I've received over the course of 12 years has been outweighed, 100 zillion to one, by bullshit like STOP BEING A LOSER WIN TODAY You don’t need designer clothes to play at this casino. Play from the comfort of your home. Ask Chairman Mao - he was so sick of spam, he just shot the fucking pigeons from the sky. If only half of these'firewalls' did the same.

What about mobile phones? Listen, I'm not given to product endorsement, but I'll say it: the Nokia 3310 was the best phone I ever dropped down a flight of stairs and I bitterly wish I still had it. I could fire off a 140+ character text in about 20 seconds ((and I didn't even use text speak)) and I felt every beep and vibration a mile off. Shit, there were child soldiers out in the Congo who heard my incoming text alerts. The only thing I couldn't do with it was take pictures of my cock and text them to my girlfriend, or go on the internet to buy DMX Krew CDs - ooh, bothered. It was a tough, vicious beast of a phone, seemingly impervious to whatever concrete, wooden or steel surfaces I hurled it at, and of absolutely no interest to muggers whatsoever.

So what about now? Well, after leaving my iPhone in Texas 3 months ago, I decided to opt for an HTC Wildfire instead, purely 'cos it was £200 cheaper ((no, my iPhone wasn't insured. Only thick people actually lose their phones)). And hey, guess what? Now, I don't have a fucking clue if anybody's calling me because it takes about a decade to go through 'Settings' to get a proper, honest ringtone ((what's all this whirly ambient shit?)); knocking out a text on the miniature touchpad feels like playing a game of 'Operation', taking me 20 minutes to nail down five words; and the predictive text options make me feel like a ventriloquist puppet for some smug cyborg - hey, just complete my sentences for me why don't you, twatbot. But I can take pictures and 'streaming video!', and a pair of windscreen wipers goes SQUSHHHH across the screen when it's raining locally, so that's OK then!

Had enough yet? What about tube trains? In the old days, it used to be hilarious when a city banker got trapped in the carriage doors, after a last-second sprint down the escalator. You could sit back and watch him sob in terror and agony as the PORTALS OF PUNCTUALITY crushed his worthless bulk, requiring about 6 people to help pull the red-faced spanner into the carriage. Now the doors just lightly poke against folk's shoulders and retract after a few seconds. Where's the fun in that?

Oh please yourselves. It brings out my inner SPG officer, any odds.

I'm no technophobe but, if I resent being held up in queues behind doddery old ladies, then I sure as fuck ain't taking it from a bunch of robots. This simple attitude explains why I treat all new applications and technological developments with extreme caution.

Nonetheless, there are three interzones where I'm delighted to engage with technology, and they're called MEDIAFIRE, MEGAUPLOAD and RAPIDSHARE. Why fork out $200 + shipping for a 5-LP S.P.K retrospective box set, when you can download the lot for free within five minutes, and then delete it all once you've realised the live sound quality's crap and the uploader forgot to include the slightly pricey No More 7" anyway? Squeeze every last penny's worth out of your home broadband fee, that's what I say. Maybe it's the equivalent of eating 'til you mess your pants because of 'the starving Indians', but let's face it, people in China would love the freedom to illegally download out-of-print industrial rarities, and I think it's an insulting waste of bandwidth not to do so on their behalf.

Subsequently, the idea of using the official iTunes store to actually BUY tunes always struck me as semi-retarded. UNTIL...I was cleaning up my flat last week and came across a £25 iTunes voucher. Ah yeah - a 'redundancy present' from last year. Perhaps if my former workplace hadn't made 30 people redundant six months before they kicked me out, I'd have received a decent gift. Anyway, 'waste not, want not',etc, so I decided to scratch off the code and spend the voucher on a few things that seem to have eluded Mediafire etc.

What a fucking fiasco. Hey, Apple, here's an idea - why don't you explain to your users, UP FRONT, that they need to include a) at least one number b) at least one capitalised letter when creating an iTunes password, instead of pissing my time up the wall by listing your requirements AFTER the fact? About 10 minutes later, I was actually ready to 'go shopping', having had to re-log twice after being bombarded with account activation links. Oh and nice 'search' function you got there, boy - funny how all roads lead to Rihanna.

Anyway, my first port of call was BLACK ROOTS' Black Roots With Friends album from 1993 ((£7.99)). I had a tape copy of this reggae release many moons ago, back when it could be found in remainder bins for about 99p. For some reason, the platter's languished in near total obscurity over the years, though I was really keen to hear it again. To be fair, it's not an amazing album - this was more of a nostalgic head trip, as I wanted to listen to Juvenile Delinquent and Tribal War for the first time since I was 17, back when I still didn't have much of a clue about reggae and every vinyl buy was a wild stab at hitting jackpot. Still, it's aged OK. Ish. It's funny hearing the group sing Don't be like the Protestants and Catholics / Who are killing dem one, we really did host some wicked sectarian wars back in the '80s and'90s, before the Islamic fundamentalists jumped on the bandwagon. Tribal War sounds a bit different to how I 'remember' it; I'm certain there was a bit where the rhythm drops out and gives way to a "WAR-ORRR-ORRR-OAAAHHHH" dub echo, which definitely ain't on this download...but maybe I'm confusing it with that "BOY-OY-OY-OY-OYYYYY" bit in Trinity's Three Piece Suit. It's been a long time after all. Can't tell you who Black Roots' 'friends' were on this album, as iTunes didn't bother to list any credits.

Incidentally, Black Roots With Friends actually comes with two bonus albums tagged on; Blue Moon by Kevin Eastwood and Triad by Adrian Brown / General D / Tippa Ranking ((or 'Tippa Ranks' as lazybones iTunes chooses to refer to him)). Kevin Eastwood's OK for a lovers rock gargler
((yep, as the album title suggests, he does a reggae version of that soppy old croon-tune)) but he didn't really float my boat. The Triad album sounds ace though! Never heard of any of the three UK singers/MCs responsible, but the tunes are great, especially Adrian Brown's Don't Care A Damn and Tippa's Lef Out The Coke. So you can imagine my disgust at checking out the original release details, and discovering there's an extra three tracks that iTunes didn't bother to stick on the download version, including a song by General D called Poll Tax. Hey, thanks a fucking lot - Triad isn't even on Mediafire either. Don't suppose anyone can burn me the missing tunes?

So this is the mighty iTunes?? The main problem is that there's simply nothing on there you can't blag for free elsewhere ((except Black Roots, obviously)). I ended up looking up ancient speed garage tunes that I hadn't heard in ages, but then I got paranoid that some of the labels might have been affiliated with Ministry of Sound, so I jacked it in and downloaded Take The Money And Run by Steve Miller for 79p instead, purely 'cos it was playing in a bar in Houston one night and it made sense in a sort of 'getting wasted in cowboyville' style. Hardly has the same effect in an overcast NW London, but sod it, it wasn't my wonga - and you can never have enough songs about teenage sweethearts going on an armed robbery rampage while being chased around the state by a bent sheriff. It's like Zombie by the Cranberries - to you, it's probably some maudlin dirge about Northern Ireland and all the Protestants and Catholics killing dem one another...but I've just got a Thai pole dancer with skull make-up and a rubber bat tucked into her G-string implanted on my brain, forever, thanks to some glorious Bangkok bar specialising in face-value thematic interpretations of song titles. One girl wore a hard hat and jived around a toolbox for AC/DC's Shake Your Foundations. Guess they could have just panned to some retired stockbroker waking up in his shitty hotel room with all his credit cards missing for Take The Money And Run...

Thank Bejayzus for Xylitol and Hacker Farm. Speaking of which...

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