15 March 2007


Well, I had a vague notion it was gonna happen, but still I got a bit of a shock earlier today whilst idly flicking through the latest issue of Mixmag in W.H.Smith's. It's one of those magazines I haven't checked for ages, but the cover promised a 'Best Of British' feature explaining 'why UK dance music is back on top with Optimo, Klaxons, Dubstep and a raving nation', which I thought sounded vaguely intriguing. I assumed there might be a little feature on someone like Skream, or perhaps Youngsta, but it seems that Mixmag is already exploring beyond the boundaries of dubstep's Croydon heartland. The mag fell open on page 80, and there under the title 'Home Win For Bristol Ravers' (ouch!), all my crew - Headhunter, Peverelist, Joker, Pinch, Blazey and Atki2 - were staring back at me. It's a strange feeling, to see all these people you know, perhaps in some cases even consider to be friends, suddenly becoming The Next Big Thing in an established glossy publication like this. I felt something a bit like fatherly pride, but also a twinge of anxiety, cos until now I felt like I had a little monopoly on reporting about this regional scene, but now they're all coming of age and moving on, upwards and outwards, which is entirely as it should be. I feel a bit like I did after the first big dubstep special on Mary Anne Hobbs early last year, when the original London scene blew-up so spectacularly...a sense of redundancy, that having helped to midwife the scene through it's earlier phase, my job was done. But that's just me being stupid and elitist. I'm really pleased for these guys and I hope they all become absolutely fucking huuuge....

...just like Shackleton, who got a whole page to himself. When that first Skull Disco promo cd-r landed on my doorstep two years ago, I could tell it was something original, but I never dreamed it would develop into anything more than an esoteric sub-sector of the dubstep landscape. Yet now Mixmag are hailing Shackleton as "poised to become one of dubstep's first stars", and, for reasons I've already made clear recently, it couldn't happen to a more deserving case. Sometimes the good guys do win! I might post scans of the pages for the overseas crew, but I'm gonna wait until this issue is out of circulation, cos I don't wanna upset anyone again.

Actually, this edition is a pretty good read all-round. Also featured in the 'Best Of British' section are Chantelle Fiddy's report on Grime at the ICA and the rise of Funky House on the capitol's pirate stations (as predicted by Blackdown a few months back), plus reports on Birminghams' Acid House revival scene and the popularity of Hard Dance raves in the south west. Oh, and a big feature on The Klaxons. I heard one of their tunes recently. My response? Comfortably numb.

Plus Q&A with Goldie (the new Rufige Kru album is a spectacular return to form for the Metalheadz mainman, by all accounts) and all the usual news, reviews and nice photos on nice paper. Who says the printed word is dead??