Archive for the ‘specials’ Category.

Nomex interview for Datacide

Nomex Cassette Cover 2011

Introduction to the piece:

Nomex should need no introduction to Datacide readers, but here goes anyway. One of the organisers of the seminal “Dead by Dawn” parties held in the mid nineties at Brixton’s 121 Centre, Nomex contributed visuals, abstract/harsh performances and much more besides.

His releases on his own Adverse label have included everything from vinyl abuse to the sounds of bones in the Paris catacombs. The Nomex discography also includes output on Praxis, Cavage, and Reverse amongst others. Despite performing across the globe (from Teknivals to art galleries) he is still a purposely-obscure figure to most. What follows is the only print interview I am aware of.


LDN EVENT: Noise/Cult Films matinee, 14th July


John Eden and Limazulu present a cult matinee double bill:

A film by GX Jupitter-Larsen
(London Premiere)

WITCHES: The Psychotronic Voodoo Sound of
Hacker Farm & Libbe Matz Gang
(World Premiere)

3pm, Sunday 14th July 2013
Limazulu Project Space: Unit 3J, Omega Works, 167 Hermitage Road, London N4 1LZ


Two cult films featuring a stellar array of international underground artists!

Facebook Event Page



A NOISY DELIVERY is the kind of thing that happens when people go to the post office for philosophy instead of postage.

Shot around the world, A Noisy Delivery is the first feature length movie by Hollywood based artist/writer/filmmaker GX Jupitter-Larsen.


  • Tim Bennett-Huxtable (“Jehovah’s Badass”, “Canoga Park”, “Melrose Place”)
  • Jessica King (The Haters)
  • Dave Phillips (Schimpfluch-Gruppe)
  • AMK (Banned Production)
  • Rudolf (Runzelstirn & Gurgelstøck, Schimpfluch-Gruppe)
  • Joke Lanz – (Sudden Infant, Schimpfluch Gruppe)
  • Mike Dando (Con-Dom)
  • Christopher Dennis (The Hollywood Superman, “Confessions of a Superhero”)
  • Edward J. Giles (+DOG+)
  • Geoff Brandin (Fin, Catorce Index)
  • Sergio Messina (RadioGladio, Soslo, “Real Sex, Alt porn is the new Rock’n’roll”)


GX Jupitter-Larsen is an artist, based in Hollywood, California, who’s been active in a number of underground art scenes since the late 1970s including punk rock, mail art, cassette culture, the noise music scene, and zine culture. He is best known as the founder of the noise act The Haters, who’ve performed all over the world, and appear on over 300 CD & record releases.

Underlying all of Jupitter-Larsen’s work is a peculiar mix of aesthetic and conceptual obsessions, particularly entropy and decay, professional wrestling, and a self-created lexicon consisting mainly of personalized units of measurement such as polywave, the totimorphous, and the xylowave.

Shot around the world, from Hollywood to Switzerland to the Arctic circle in Norway, A Noisy Delivery has been six years in the making.

As writer & director, A Noisy Delivery is GX’s latest in a long line of film and video projects. In a piece entitled Blank Banner, during the 1980s, GX submitted a silent blank video tape to over forty video festivals. It was screened in nine. GX’s 1994 vampire romp Holes On The Neck still enjoys a passionate cult following to this day. His next cinema exploit is said to be on the theme of mad-scientists who use public transport.




WITCHES is an audio-visual collaboration between cult lo-fi electronics groups Hacker Farm and Libbe Matz Gang. This will be its premiere showing. Not recommended for minors or those of a nervous disposition.

Hacker Farm describe themselves as “A celebration of the home-made, the salvaged and the hand-soldered. DIY electronics performed on obsolete tech and discarded, post-consumerist debris. Make-do and mend. Broken music for a Broken Britain.”

The Somerset-based trio self-released their album “Poundland” in 2011 along with an array of unusually formatted limited editions. Last year’s “UHF” was released on the Exotic Pylon label.

Not much is known about noise unit Libbe Matz Gang. Named after a 17th Century Estonian werewolf posse, they released their debut 7” EP last year on the Libertatia Overseas Trading label, followed up by a split 7” with Xylitol.

Material from both groups will be on sale at the event.



Ten years of Blogging


Ten years ago today I signed on at Blogger* and kicked things off with posts on an article by Greg Mario Whitfield about Bass Culture and a new issue of Datacide Magazine.

Paul Meme and I had been avidly following Simon Reynolds’ Blissout website for a few years and had noted his move to Blogger the previous October. Paul then found this guy blogging as That Was A Naughty Bit of Crap (TWANBOC). And we thought “Oh, ok, WE could do THAT…”.

I started my blog a week after TWANBOC began and Paul followed with Shards, Fragments and Totems (which I always thought was a terrible title) nine days later.


Simon Reynolds’ Blissblog logo

We weren’t alone. An explosion of music blogs had commenced. Initially nobody had a comments facility. (Indeed, the internet was a very different place  before Myspace, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr existed). Back then, if you wanted to respond to people’s posts you would have to write something on your own blog.  You’d find out about new blogs from mate’s blog entries and through links in people’s sidebars. Sidebars got quite political after a while, with huffy handbags-at-dawn “Well! I’ve DELETED you from MY SIDEBAR!!!” anguish from some of the emerging primadonnas. Beyond The Implode’s astute take on this was characteristically essential.

For an old git like me, blogging echoed the democratic responsibility of fanzine publishing.

I gave a talk about my take on blogging and fanzine writing (and how they differ from journalism) at the Audio Poverty festival in Berlin. The audio of the talk is available via that link.

My pre-history of blogging

But actually my written and self-published output was quite like blogging before blogging was possible.

2000-2002: I’d been doing monthly updates to my website with a hooky copy of Dreamweaver and then uploading the pages via FTP. It was fun, but a bit fiddly – and there was hardly any way of getting feedback. There’d be reviews, links to articles I’d published, links to interesting stuff by allies, charts, etc.

1995-1997: The first six issues of Turbulent Times had similar content, except they’d come out three times a year and be mailed out as a four page A4 leaflet, with inserts. Like blogging, this slotted into a community of like-minded groups such as the Neoist Alliance, London Psychogeographical Association, Decadent Action, Manchester Area Psychogeographic, The Equi Phallic Alliance, Parasol Post and the Association of Autonomous Astronauts – all of whom published newsletters in a similar way.

Some sheets from The Sheets Project

Some sheets from The Sheets Project

1994-1995: Before that, there was what came to be known as The Sheets Project. Once a month I’d post out 50 copies of an untitled A3 sheet with various diary entries about what I’d been up to. Mr Autotranscend would give me some of his A.K.C.T. fiction to include as well.

“The Golden Age of music blogging”

It feels like a long time ago now. I think I’ll always associate some blogs with a particular period in my life, and the music that accompanied it. It was all incredibly fertile – blogs spawned other blogs, online forums, social meet ups, relationships, online mixes like Blogariddims, publications like Woofah and a ton of music projects.

Some bloggers became paid journalists or produced books. (Some were already in this position, but I preferred to see them cut loose online, being gloriously subjective and personal.) Other people came and went – some of them deleting their entire blogs when they’d had enough. I met some amazing characters, both online and in the flesh.

Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 22.49.52Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 23.07.23Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 23.08.14

The blogosphere was an incredibly chaotic, fluid, seething mess. I loved it. Even the idea that everything was available online was subverted by falling into a maze of sidebar links and finding that new amazing blog – and then never being able to locate it ever again. People had a laugh AND took it seriously. Tried to out-do each other, but also supported people.

Blogging in 2013

Changes in technology and software have diluted the community aspect of blogging. Now that most music can be heard online, it seems that many people don’t see the point of writing about it. Wankers.

My RSS feed is a bit bereft these days, although I have stayed in touch with a surprisingly large number of people and am vaguely aware of what some of the more conventionally successful ex-bloggers are up to. I think people tend to specialise more these days, which is good if you share an interest with someone, but it’s all a bit tidy.

Simon Reynolds now seems to be running an insane twenty nine blogs, so it’s hardly surprising his original Blissblog has lost focus a bit. (“Crowd sourcing” material for blog posts about drum patterns! Dearie me!)

Matthew Ingram transformed TWANBOC into WOEBOT and then experimented with a fine array of new formats, culminating in his own online TV documentaries before chucking it all in and making music.


He’s now republished his blog as an 800 page kindle/e-book thing. It’s great – really good to see those articles again. A new entry from Matt was the kind of thing you’d surreptitiously print out at work for the bus ride home, but then read it online anyway when the boss was out of the office because you were too excited. Let’s put it this way – I downloaded a kindle app just so I could read it on my computer at home and I wouldn’t do that unless I had to – and I already read most it anyway…

The self-publishing aspect seems to have diminished recently, with people preferring to contribute to online magazines or uber-blogs. I can see why they would do that – you want people to read your stuff and they are less likely to when it is hidden away on a music blog these days, bar a few exceptions. I’m the same, with pieces I’ve contributed to Datacide or Woofah or Agit Disco.

We have “evolved” from people composing blog posts, to forum threads, to Facebook updates or 140 characters on Twitter, to posting nothing but Youtube links or context-less images on Tumblr, to “liking” something with the click of a mouse. Convenience has a lot to answer for, but I think there are still lots of interesting conversations happening too.

And me? Like everyone I’m in a different situation than I was ten years ago. Technology has moved on, my interests have shifted and I have less time/more commitments. There’s nothing subcultural right now that I feel I can slot right into. I feel less need to  write about whatever I am thinking about on a daily basis. There’s too much going on, so it’s a good time to focus.

I’ve returned to fanzine publishing as a bit of an experiment, but the blog is still here to flag up whatever I think people should know about. It’s great that Matt has published Woebot as a book, but I feel far happier having ten years of my blog still available for people to stumble on when they are at work randomly googling things. I don’t feel the need to anthologise my writing because (unlike Woebot) most of it was very much of its time.

So! Thank you if you’re still reading this, or have ever left a comment, or sent me a nice email. Or sent me a letter or your music or bought me a pint. Maybe see you in another ten…

Greatest Hits

Asher Senator

The first 23 gigs I can remember going to series

LONDON ACID CITY: When the Two 8’s Clash


Nicky Crane

Occultural roots of “Inna Gadda da Vida”

Papa Levi

Pseudo Skins

Punk Comics 3: Straight Edge

Reggae Noughties

Secret Ska History of Stamford Hill (by Malcolm Imrie, not me!)

Smiley Culture


*This blog was initially hosted at Blogspot, then moving to my friend Dnyl’s site before finally being fully integrated into All the content from each incarnation is here, but some of the older stuff is a bit scrambled after everything got hacked last year.

Turbulent Times fanzine – issue 9 published

Roll up! Roll up! Get yer scrappy xerox noise rag!

48 pages A5 (half-size). Mainly by me. Design is even less professional than Tweetah. Content is even more cynical.

Trades/Blags/Distro offers are welcome.

Nocturnal Emissions – Nigel Ayers talks about his recent “Spinal Correction Shred” cassette amongst other stuff.

GX Jupitter-Larsen – The Haters mainstay on revolutionary noise anthems, nihilism etc.

Adventures in Noise Dub – A voyage into the cassette underground. Can we believe the hype?

Libbe Matz Gang – The cult lo-fi electronics unit play hard to get.

GRMMSK – Alienated doom dub from the frozen wastes.

Harsh Noise History – Eraciator’s less than helpful genre guide.

My Summer of Noise – live reviews

Audio Reviews

UK: £2.50

Europe: £4.50

Rest of World: £5.00

choose your location

Libbe Matz Gang Megamix




Shaking The Foundations: Reggae soundsystem meets ‘Big Ben British values’ downtown | Datacide

Shaking The Foundations: Reggae soundsystem meets ‘Big Ben British values’ downtown.

My article for Datacide issue 11 is now online. I wrote it a couple of years back in preparation for the talk I did at the launch event for the previous issue.

But actually it has stood the test of time quite well, anticipating some of the recent debates about multiculturalism. It was quite gratifying to see Professor Anthony Glees spouting yet more nonsense on Channel 4’s “Ten O’Clock Live Show” last month.

Obviously I’d be interested in any comments or criticisms people have of the piece.

Some other content from the current Datacide has also been uploaded to their site, including a piece by Stewart Home on Dope Smuggling, LSD Manufacture, Organised Crime and the Law in 1960s London.

Don’t forget to buy a copy of the current issue to get the full contents and support what Datacide is doing.

MIX: Grievous Angel & John Eden present: Lovers Rock


So what about this situation with the lovers rock versus dub scene?

C: “A party is nothing without girls and the girls check for lovers.”

(from Soundsystem Splashdown 1981 NME feature)

As I said in my lecture at Audio Poverty, I got into UK MC reggae records because they were cheap, because I liked their local lyrics and the fact that their existence told a story about the city I live in. Personally I would rather spend time rummaging through a pile of cheap vinyl than scouring the internet for those RARE collectors items everyone seems to be after.

But inevitably things change, and the prices of UK MC records have gone up. Tunes that were knocking about for two or three quid eight years ago are now selling for up to 5 times that. It’s hard not to feel validated by this, but I’m obviously wary of letting the market dictate what is good or not. Certainly you can’t put a price on the pleasure that my copy of Peter Bouncer’s “Rough Neck Sound” 12″ has given me.

And anyway, the rummaging continues. These days it’s often accompanied by some raised eyebrows: “7 quid for Tippa Irie’s ‘Panic Panic’ 12″ – are you sure?”. But then perhaps the eye is drawn to the floor beneath the seven quid racks, to a pile of dusty records alongside a notice in felt tip pen proclaiming their unpopularity: “everything in this pile £1″. Ah… hello, my friends.

Most record collectors are male – boys seeking boys’ things. So it is hardly surprising that the reggae records which have been most resistant to collector-mania have been the ones which don’t deal with the sort of things that blokes check for. There are lots of Ebay Earners about war, overcoming tribulation, weighty spiritual issues and smoking ‘erb. So yes, these days much of the bargain bin reggae was originally sung by, and ultimately aimed at, teenage girls. Teenage girls are like kryptonite for record collectors, I think.

I’m not going to lie, there have been a good few things that I’ve picked up and then chucked out after hearing 30 seconds of screechy singing over artless digital backing. And yes, some of the tunes here are widely recognised as being the pinnacle of the sub-genre (and in some cases would make many people’s top 100 reggae tunes ever, I think).

This mix was thrown together one night a year ago whilst I was playing with a new effects box. I figured it was a bit rough and ready and I would get around to re-doing it one day. Then Paul Meme expressed an interest in collaborating on a mix again, so I bunged it his way. He is responsible for actually bringing it to your earholes, so praise is due. Paul has added a ton more effects and removed my most heinous mistakes as well. There are still some ghostly echoes of other things in mix, but I think that adds to it all.

I make no claims at being definitive, there are other places to go for that (see especially the compilations “The Lovers Rock Story” on Kickin’ and “This Is Lovers Rock” on Greensleeves). I would also wholeheartedly recommend Menelik Shabazz’s film “The Story of Lovers Rock”.

I would like to dedicate this mix to my long-suffering partner. I’d like to, but I won’t. Whilst she appreciates a good bassline, she finds high pitched vocals akin to scraping a cat down a blackboard.

Track by Track

1. Louisa Mark – Caught You In A Lie (Safari 7″)

“You… said she was your cousin…”

It all started here, in 1975. Apparently “Caught” was originally a soul song by Robert Parker, but I can’t bear to track that down after hearing this. Louisa was 14 years old when this was recorded for south London soundman Lloydie Coxsone. You can really hear all that adolescent anguish being channeled into the grooves. I was in a lock-in the other night where someone insisted in playing anthemic stadium rock. Louisa Mark reaches peaks of emotional intensity that middle aged rockers can only dream of. The backing band here is Matumbi, who we will hear from again in a little while.

2. 15-16-17 – Black Skin Boys (DEB Music 7″)
Again, the group were schoolgirls – their name came from the age of each singer in the trio. Lovers with a bit of afro-positive consciousness snuck in for all the rastamen in the dance. (See also Brown Sugar’s “I’m In Love With A Dreadlocks”). DEB was Dennis (Emmanuelle) Brown’s label whilst he was based in London.

3. Matumbi – After Tonight (from “Lovers For Lovers vol 3″ LP)
UK reggae legend Dennis Bovell’s group in fine form, with the man himself on vocals I think. And yes, this is off a compilation album with a soft focus photograph of a naked couple on the cover.

4. Shade of Love African Blood – Tell Me Bout The Love (Arawak 12″)
Arawak is Bovell’s label, but the production on this is credited to B Spencer, D Luetaim and P Dover. No idea who they are and still no clue as to the identity of the vocalist. I think “Shade of…” is the name of the group rather than an individual. Any clues welcome!

5. Lorita Grahame – Young Free And Single (Intense 12″)
Bit of a disco number, almost into “Woo” Gary Davies Radio One Roadshow territory, but not quite. Lorita would go on to be a member of indie group Colourbox in the eighties, notably re-doing Jacob Miller’s “Baby I Love You So”. The NME did a double header feature with them and Augustus Pablo in 1986.

6. Melanie Fiona – Sad Songs (Island 7″)
Melanie is a new Canadian vocalist. Island snuck this out about a year ago, in a nice replica of their sixties seven inch singles. It obviously and blatantly leads us to:

7. Janet Kay – Silly Games (Scope 12″)
Everyone’s heard this, right? It was a number 2 hit in the national charts ferchrissakes! Still an outstanding record to this day. Dennis Bovell (for it is he, on the buttons, once again) is very amusing about this in the book about The Slits. He was producing their “Cut” album in some posh rural studio (where the legendary mud and flesh cover photo was taken) when Ari Up told him “Silly Games” was playing on the radio. So he dashed from The Slits to perform alongside Janet Kay on Top of the Pops. Contrast or what?

Janet recently appeared as a fairy godmother in panto at the Hackney Empire, much to the pleasure of all the Dads present. We even got treated to a brief rendition of this tune into the bargain.

8. Peter Hunnigale – Mary J (from “Free Soul” LP)
Mr Hunnigale is proper UK reggae grafter. To say he seems popular with the ladies is something of an understatement. This track is a bit of an anomaly – is it a love song or reality lyrics about a woman forced into making ends meet any which way? The LP this is taken from is superb – all sweet Hunnigale vocals over crisp original Studio One riddims, courtesy of the Peckings label.

9. Joy Mack – Reality (from “Lovers For Lovers vol 3″ LP)
Yeah it’s that comp again, sorry purists, if you made it this far! I don’t know much about Joy, but this is a belter. In recent years she’s appeared in the stage version of “The Harder They Come”.

10. Maxi Priest – Strolling On (Level Vibes 12″)
Pretty much everything I wanted to write about Maxi is already here. Check the comments to see some of the love that abounds for the man. This is still one of those tunes to put on to reassure you everything is alright. Summer vibes in the middle of winter.

11. Massive Horns – Flowing On (Level Vibes 12″)
Massive Horns did loads of dubs for Fashion, including a whole album, “Merrie Melodies” which is awesome. They are credited on that LP as Annie Whitehead (trombone), Tim Sanders (alto sax, tenor sax), Al Deval (tenor sax) & Barbara Snow (trumpet). Whitehead is a bit of a legend, having also worked with Evan Parker, The Penguin Cafe Orchestra and Jah Wobble, who is very nice about her in his autobiography. I need to get around to researching the rest as well.

12. Kevin Henry & Kate – Born Again (Rhythm Force 12″)
I think this was the first Lovers Rock tune I bought. It was a dull day in Leicester, where I’d been sent by work. I found a record shop on the first floor near a market and it had about two things in I was interested in, the other being Greensleeves late 90s ragga twelve. This is proper trippy, sort of a Rhythm & Sound thing going on with it. I’ve not heard that many duets in Lovers Rock, but I think the vocal combo on this is stunning. It’s a Clem Bushay production – he also had a hand in some of the Louisa Mark tunes, for example her other huge hit “Six Sixth Street”. No idea who Kevin Henry, Kate or the band here are though.

13. Janet Kay – You Bring The Sun Out (Black Roots 12″)
I try not to repeat artists on mixes, but I will make an exception for Janet Kay in this (and indeed, in most things!). This is produced by Studio One’s keyboard king Jackie Mittoo and features him tinkling the ivories over the riddim pon the flip. I’m guessing this was recorded while Jackie was in London, right?

14. Trevor Walters – Love Me Tonight (Magnet 12″)
Easing into cheese territory perhaps, but Paul adds an avalanche of brutal effects to restore a healthy balance. In fact that tension between hard bass and sweet vocals is what makes all the tunes here work.

15. Kofi – Didn’t I (Ariwa 12″)
Mad Professor production – for a while he was releasing just as much lovers as roots and dub material, which just goes to show how popular the genre was. Kofi was originally in Lovers Rock super-trio Brown Sugar, alongside Caron Wheeler, later of Soul II Soul.

New Mix: Boops Specialist

One of the great things about reggae’s “version culture” is how getting your mitts on a new tune can reactivate whole swathes of your collection. I stumbled across a storming UK twelve on the Boops riddim recently and spent a very pleasant Saturday afternoon on a version excursion tip, fishing out classics and long forgotten cuts from the dustier corners of my vinyl shelves.

So here’s a little mix for you, done live in one take – with a little bit of post-editing before the last track.

In some ways it’s a companion to my Answer one-riddim-clash mix, but no war business with Paul Meme this time.

Yousendit download link or:


1. The Ethiopians – Last Train to Skaville (1966? – from “Celebration: 25 Years of Trojan Records” LP)

2. Toots and the Maytals – 54-46 (1969 – from Soul Jazz “400% Dynamite” CD)

3. Johnny Ringo – I And I Number (From “JA To UK M.C. Clash” LP, Fashion 1985)

4. Asher Senator – Abbreviation Qualification VIP Mix (Fashion 12” 1984)

5. Horace Andy – Cool and Deadly (Tads 12”)

6. Superman and Spiderman – Roadblock (From “Superman & Spiderman” LP, Kingdom 1985)

7. Papa Face and Bionic Rhona – To the Bump (From “Great British MCs” LP, Fashion 1984)

8. Concrete Jungle Overcoat (from “Rubble Dub M.C.’s Choice” LP, Rubble 1986)

9. Supercat – Boops (Techniques 7” 1986)

10. Pam Hall – Dear Boopsie (Blue Mountain 12”, 1986)

11. King Kong – Don’t Touch My Boops (Unity Sound 12” 1986)

12. Papa Charjan And Jack Reuben Featuring Higgy Rygin – Moany Moany (Shuttle Records 12” 1986)

13. Bayley & Chacka Demus – One Scotch (Unity Sound 12”)

14. Papa Charjan And Jack Reuben Featuring Higgy Rygin – One Scotch, One Tennants, One Brew (Shuttle Records 12” 1986)

15. Rebel MC and Double Trouble – Street Tuff (Desire 7”, 1989)


The Ethiopians – Last Train to Skaville (1966? – from “Celebration: 25 Years of Trojan Records” LP)

The Ethiopians started in the 1940s and passed through Studio One in the sixties before recording this for WIRL. This opening track is a little on the quiet side, partly because that’s how I like to start, but also because Trojan have unwisely included 10 tracks per side of this LP. Which, to be fair, did make it good value – just not so great for playing out.

Toots and the Maytals – 54-46 (1969 – from Soul Jazz “400% Dynamite” CD)

Everyone has heard this, surely? So the story behind this tune is that Toots Hibbert was busted for ganja and the title of the tune was his prison number. Unfortunately that is just a story. Toots says he was busted (for what isn’t clear) whilst trying to pay bail for a mate – and the number is just something he made up.

So yeah, these first few tracks are off compilations and not crackly seven inches. People get snobbish about that I guess, so here is full disclosure. Both of these comps are brilliant, by the way.

Johnny Ringo – I And I Number (From “JA To UK M.C. Clash” LP, Fashion 1985)

JA MC on tour in the UK cuts album underneath the Dub Vendor shop, riding the riddim with some nice “definition lyrics”.

Unfortunately Ringo died in 2005, his passing was noted by me here.

Asher Senator – Abbreviation Qualification VIP Mix (Fashion 12” 1984)

Saxon MC Asher’s first single, which I’ve written about previously in my Born To Chat: The Asher Senator Story.

Horace Andy – Cool and Deadly (Tads 12”)

Sleepy brings his take on “ABC” by the Jackson 5 to the party. This raises the musical levels after Asher’s lyrical onslaught. I often play the two in combination like this on the increasingly rare occasions that I am trusted on the decks in public.

Superman and Spiderman – Roadblock (FromSuperman & Spiderman” LP, Kingdom 1985)

Mysterious trademark-infringing duo in the mould of Michigan and Smiley.

Superman was born in Birmingham, but raised in JA. He now records UK Dub material under the name of Sandeeno. Spiderman I know little about but seem to recall he was JA born and bred.

Of course, superhero imagery has been well used in reggae, from Tony McDermott’s great covers for Scientist dub albums, to these labels:

Papa Face and Bionic Rhona – To the Bump (From “Great British MCs” LP, Fashion 1984)

“Nuff man chat on the Shank I Sheck, but me no hear no-one pon this one yet”

Underrated duo, previously written about here. Rhona is an reader, Face has continued to MC as mic man for David Rodigan and is a regular fixture behind the counter at Dub Vendor.

Concrete Jungle Overcoat (from “Rubble Dub M.C.’s Choice” LP, Rubble 1986)

Very talented musicians at Fashion. Their riddims and dub albums never get proper credit, but it’s nice gear. I meant to write about them all for Woofah but it didn’t quite happen. Gussie Prento production.

Super Cat – Boops (Techniques 7” 1986)

“And when you check it out Friday ah payday”

The tune that started the craze. Super Cat tells the story of an older guy who has the girls flocking – but only because of his wallet. The Techniques lick of the riddim is proper loose (in a good way) and even has a bum note towards the end.

Pam Hall – Dear Boopsie (Blue Mountain 12”, 1986)

“Since you’ve been gone – I’ve forgotten the taste of wine”

Pam is the sister of Audrey Hall. Dear Boopsie attempts to give some female perspective on the Boops phenomenon, though it’s hardly an advert for womens’ liberation. Oddly this seems to be the only tune in the mix which has troubled the UK Charts, skirting around the mid 50s for a few weeks.

The tune even appeared in one of the few reggae charts featured on ITV’s The Chart Show.

King Kong – Don’t Touch My Boops (Unity Sound 12” 1986)

“Gorgeous smile and she had pretty looks”

This is a King Jammy production which was licensed to Hackney’s Unity Sound label because of their strong connections.

Pretty soon Boops was inescapable, as is evident from Daddy Kool’s pre-release chart of April 19, 1986:

1. King Kong – Don’t Touch My Boops – Jammys
2. Anthony Red Rose – Me No Want No Boops – Firehouse
3. Michael Prophet – Nah Call Me John Boops – Techniques
4. Sugar Minott – John Boops – Cornerstone
5. Lyrical – No Try No Boops – 10 Rossevelt Avenue
6. Pompidou – I Love My Boops – Striker Lee
7. Super Dad – See Boops Ya – Blue Mountain
8. Radicals – Rum Tree – Roots Radics Gang
9. Ringo – See Foreign Deh – Harry J
10. Delroy Williams – Watchdog – Rockers

Sly and Robbie hit the national charts one year later with their own take on the fad… (major labels being unable to keep up with the street commentary of reggae culture).

Papa Charjan And Jack Reuben Featuring Higgy Rygin – Moany Moany (Shuttle Records 12” 1986)

Shuttle operated out of Haringey, with offices around Turnpike Lane and Green Lanes. This is a Fatman production. Fatman runs a longstanding soundsystem and label. There’s a nice piece on him here from Penny Reel’s 1981 NME Soundsystem Splashdown feature.

At that time, Fatman’s selector was Ribs (interviewed here). But Ribs then left Fatman to start his own Unity Hi-Fi sound. Charjan and his brother Reuben were two of Unity’s first deejays (soon to be joined by Peter Bouncer, Navigator and the Ragga Twins amongst many other key ‘nuum figures).

But then Charjan and Reuben really upset the applecart by leaving Unity and joining Fatman. Apparently the animosity is made abundantly clear in Fatman/Unity clash tapes from the mid eighties.

Whatever the history, this is a boss tune which equals most of the Boops ouevre for its slightly dodgy gender politics. In fact it’s intriguingly similar to “Rabbit” by that other cockney MC crew Chas and Dave. Charjan and Reuben’s double delivery on the chorus is breathtaking and there are some neat rhymes here also.

Admiral Bailey & Chaka Demus – One Scotch (Unity Sounds 12″ 1986)

Bailey and Chaka rework John Lee Hooker’s blues standard for Jammys, with added bonus reference to the Joe Gibbs oddity “In Heaven There Is No Beer (It’s Why We Drink It Here)” by The Happs.

Papa Charjan And Jack Reuben Featuring Higgy Rygin – One Scotch, One Tennants, One Brew (Shuttle Records 12” 1986)

“If you like drinking, let’s go on a drinking spree”

Charjan and Reuben come again with a London ting. Frankly the prospect of a scotch, a can of Tennents and a Special Brew is enough to make me feel decidedly queasy. Still, might be one to test out one weekend, purely in the interests of research…

Unfortunately my copy didn’t come with the ace picture cover, so it’s thanks to discogs for that. It does have this sticker on it though:

Other odes to Tennents Super include Alabama 3’s “Old Purple Tin” and “Purple Boy” by Smart Alex and Clever Cloggs.

Rebel MC and Double Trouble – Street Tuff (Desire 7”, 1989)

Not everyone realises this is the same bassline as Toots and The Maytals’ “54-46″ but then it is at 120bpm or thereabouts. A big chart hit, which will always remind me of everyone on the cheese factory production line grooving away when it came on Radio One.

Rebel MC went on to mutate into Congo Natty, but I guess everyone knows that now?


The Boops riddim was reversioned again earlier this year, but none of the tunes particularly grabbed me. So this remains an archival selection for your delectation.

As usual this is simply what I’ve picked up over the years so I make no apology if your favourite cut isn’t included. Feel free to have a heated debate in the comments boxes, or do your own mix – or simply enjoy the music for what it is!

the first 23 gigs I can remember going to: FULL LIST

A handy reference guide for obsessives, johnny come latelys and future biographers.

0. Introduction

1. Howard Jones. Wembley Arena, 17th April 1985

2. Midge Ure. Wembley Arena, 23rd December 1985

3. Marillion. Milton Keynes Bowl, 28th June 1986

4. Ultravox. Wembley Arena 5th, November 1986

5. New Model Army. Town & Country Club, 23rd December 1986

6. Marillion. Aylesbury Civic Centre, 28th December 1986

7. Test Dept. Hackney Empire, 23rd January 1987

9. The Mission. Brixton Academy, 28th March 1987

10. Psychic TV with With Tiny Lights, Zoskia Meets Sugardog, English Boy On The Love Ranch, Webcore. Hackney Empire, July 3 1987

11. Big Black, Head of David, A.C. Temple. Friday 24th July 1987, Hammersmith Clarendon.

12. Siouxsie and The Banshees, The Fall, Wire, Psychic TV, Gaye Bykers On Acid. Saturday 25th July 1987, Finsbury Park Supertent.

13. Butthole Surfers, Shamen, AR Kane. Clarendon, 6th August 1987.

14. Alien Sex Fiend, Psychic TV, Steven Wells. Hackney Empire, 30 September 1987.

15. SWANS, Dave Howard Singers, The Sugarcubes. Town & Country Club, 14th October 1987.

16. Suicide, Spacemen 3, Into A Circle, 999. Town & Country Club, 13th December 1987.

17. Glenn Branca: Symphony no. 6 (Devil Choirs at the Gates of Heaven). Queen Elizabeth Hall, 30th January 1988.

18. Butthole Surfers, Loop, The Shrubs. University of London Union, 26th February 1988.

19. Spacemen 3. Dingwalls, 28th March 1988.

20. Psychic TV, Spacemen 3, Hiding Place. Astoria, Sat Apr 30 1988.

21. Skinny Puppy plus comedian. Fulham Greyhound, 21st May 1988.

22. Throbbing Gristle Ltd. Astoria, 3rd June 1988.

23. Foetus Interruptus, Tackhead Soundsystem. Town and Country Club, 20th September 1988.


Back once again with a mic inna me hand!

Digital reggae, rapso and soca, reggae-infused grime and bit of chat by me. Oh, and a dancing venereal disease.

Check it out and let me know what you think…