Friday, 20 April 2018

UK hip hop is having a moment

It's been a while since I moved onto new pastures from M magazine but February and March saw us back on the editorial prowl for them, writing this little number about the health of UK hip hop and how a new wave of artists including Ms Banks, Lady Sanity and Yxng Bane...

Check out the full feature in the latest issue of M mag and online now.

Raver tots: Beats, bass and breast feeding mums in the club

Fag ends, puddles of manky old ale and a mum breast feeding her little baby. An incongruous combination you'd imagine but one thrown together by the concept of the 'baby rave'.

While clubs attract dancers of all ages, those with babies and young children may find it harder to get out of a Saturday night, bosh a load of garies and still remain capable of looking after their brood on a few minutes of teeth gnashingly brief shut eye. So step forward the kiddy rave concept. Obviously, they're not full of families all bog eyed and crazy but they do provide two hours of raving vibes, complete with actual DJs in an actual gnarly club. For anyone sans kids, they could well be seen as an appalling attack on the wide eyed evangelical hedonism of early acid house, equally as grotesque as the sober Morning Glory fitness dances. But for those with them who miss getting loose? It's almost like the real thing. If not pretty fucking weird.

The baby rave we went to took place at Hangar in London Fields on a Sunday afternoon with drum and bass legend Nicky Blackmarket on the ones, the twos and maybe even the threes. Going in at 2pm means rather than a salubrious fitness vibe, it feels more like you're taking your kid to a bizarre after, after hours party at a gritty club. You get searched going in, then park your buggy next to all the others at the door of the club amidst the puddles of detritus from the previous evening. Inside, it's £5 a warm Carlsberg and full of mums necking rum and cokes while their children run totally amok.

With the soundsystem cranked up to standard club levels, strobes set to stun and Blackmarket laying it down amidst some glitter cannons, it feels pretty similar to a student drum and bass night with the exception of the soft play area and the scally kids throwing themselves around just like their parents used to when they could get off their nuts. We lasted two hours before it all got too weird and we had to leave, clutching our hard fought Carlsbergs and went to the nearest playground to go and decompress. So in many, many ways, not too different from past lives at all...

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Sir Mick vs The Quince

While the winter of 2017/18 has been long and deep, alongside our domestic vibes and circle of chums, two key things have been leading us to the spring. One is the above image of Mick Jagger on his holibobs. The other is the full and frank Quincy Jones interview published back in February. If you look at these two things daily for the six cold months of the year, then it's possible that you'll never scowl or feel cold ever again. Try it.

Five Miles might well be our favourite place to drink pints

A shockingly controversial headline I'll think you'll agree as, if we're being totally honest, anywhere we drink pints is usually our favourite place. At least until we leave and begin drinking pints somewhere else. Whether that be the nearest bin or the bar, wherever pours some of those frothy mothers is usually somewhere we adore.

But Five Miles near Seven Sisters is certainly high up there in our list of beer swilling affections. Not only does it have a huge array of taps and craft but it has a mighty fine sound system, discerning taste in visiting selectors and a welcoming attitude to mid-30-something 'parents' with a penchant for pushing their luck and an addiction to beer. As such, I found some time to get the skinny with them for the latest issue of the Tottenham Community Press to find out more about how they came to land in Seven Sisters and what the vibe is behind the place.

Check out this latest issue and feature now and visit the Five Miles website for more info on them and their shenanigans...