Words are clues we leave ourselves. Signposts to shared understandings. Yesterday I watched a woman on the underground trying to give directions to another woman who didn’t speak English. She kindly ended up walking up to and touching the appropriate sign on wall. This is what you should look for, follow this.
Sometimes signposts can hinder, not help though. I have always had a problem putting music in a box. A label is cold, evoking nothing of the intangible emotion contained within. I’m with Paul Morley in his excellent end of year anti-list when he says it says such means of classification get “in the way of the life and mystery of music before it has a chance to live and mystify”. Or even worse, they can act as a barrier.
As a teenager growing up in Leicestershire and then at university in Leeds, house music was love. There was nothing that couldn’t be solved by a night of healing dancing at Back to Basics. Equally massive on the late ’90s Leeds music scene was drum and bass. Aggressive, dark and insular, I found it impossible to dance to – or relate to. It seemed to be for quiet and moody boys in dark clothing: baggy jeans and hooded padded jackets done up to their chins, even in hot and sweaty clubs. I wanted to smile at people on dancefloors, not scowl. I had to have house music, all night long.
That was 10 years ago. I still love house music and a whole heap of other stuff too. Maybe you noticed. But my initial experiences of drum and bass have never left me. I’m always a bit like, hmmm, no, not really. So when I saw a myspace friend request from a drum and bass guy called Mindstorm earlier today, I very nearly pressed delete on autopilot. What a dick, eh? I didn’t though. I had a listen and guess what, it’s really bloody good. ‘Midnight Rush’ has a beautifully simple, cascading melody coiled round that ever-familiar rolling drum beat. He’s probably really famous in drum and bass circles or at least I hope he is because today he reminded me not to be so ruddy narrow-minded.