Category Archives: WORDZ

Why everyone is sad about Plastic People’s closure.

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Smiley Security at Plastic People ©GC

Beloved club Plastic People closed down last weekend. The first time I went there was with Mala, sometime in 2004, on a Thursday night for Forward>> – I was trembling with adrenaline as I walked down the stairs and into the basement. There were lots of blokes, some of whom I recognised from Croydon. After some hellos and introductions (probably to Sarah Souljah, among others) and a drink at the bar, I went through the black curtains into the dark chasm of bass and space and became immersed in sound in a way that I’d never been before.

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Crazy D, Plastic People. ©GC

The next few years following that, Forward>> became a regular weekly pilgrimage. I’d come home from work, have some food, get my camera together, get in my Mum’s car, put Rinse on the radio and feel excited from the moment I left the house to the moment I was back in the basement, where a sense of seriousness would then kick in.

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The Bar at Plastic People ©GC

By the bar, I’d meet and greet (or nod at on the dancefloor) Coki, N-Type and Walsh, Skream, Youngsta, Sarah, Loefah and Pokes, Kode9, Spaceape, Blackdown, Distance, Jamie from Vex’d, the Steppa gang, Scientist, SLT Mob, Cyrus, Crazy D, Youngsta, Benny Ill, D1, Dan Hancox, Bok Bok and Manara, Appleblim, Shackleton, Elemental, Boomnoise, Letty and Tom, Chantelle Fiddy, Melissa Bradshaw, Emma Warren, Hanna and Darkstar, the three DMZ/FWD>> regulars that I called the random trio among others. Pinch would pop in from Bristol and Joe Nice and DQ from the U.S.

Bouncy Crew, ©GC

Bouncy Crew at BASH, Plastic People, ©GC

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One of my pics of Youngsta playing FWD>> at Plastic People.

Youngsta’s dark, solid sets became a staple and the thing I’d most look forward to.  It was at Plastic People that I also first experienced the energy of Grime via Roll Deep & BBK and there that I witnessed the merging of Dubstep & Grime in Skream’s Request Line, which I spoke about in this Guardian piece.  It was at Plastic that I first met Burial and where I started to really get my head around sound, frequencies and their capabilities. I also took a load of photographs there, like the relatively well known image below, often battling with whether to use flash or not.

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“SKANK” FWD>> Dancefloor, as seen in SLANG MAGAZINE, Portugal.

Hand Shake, ©GC

Warrior Queen & The Bug, BASH @ Plastic People, ©GC

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Drumzofthesouth, Plastic People ©GC

The fact that these memories are all from one Forward>> and Rinse Nights, says a lot about those particular events, bit also about the club itself, which was also hosting other forward thinking nights such as Co-Op and CDR.

Loefah and The Bug’s BASH also happened at Plastic People with guests including Warrior Queen, Nicolette and Ari Up (The Slits). I had the honour of doing the door on one occasion.

Plastic People was an important part of life for a very long time. And it doesn’t matter that it got to a point where I would no longer recognise anyone when I went there (the names above went on to set up their own nights or labels, tour around the world, run record shops and write books). It just meant that the place had become important to a new crowd. Like Croydon’s Black Sheep Bar which sadly closed last year, these venues facilitate honey moons – a particular group go there, love it, make it theirs for a number of years then naturally move on to make space for a new crowd to enjoy a new honeymoon.

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Plastic People, ©GC

Such third places foster community. They also facilitate innovation by allowing people from different places, interests and backgrounds to mesh together to create new ideas, new things.  I’ve read and heard countless tweets and statements over the past few days from producers saying that they would make tunes to play specifically at Plastic People, punters saying they met some of their best mates there and lots of people saying it changed their lives.

SO WHY DID IT SHUT DOWN? According to this article, the management felt it time to move on. Which is hard to accept considering how many other London venues have closed or been under threat of closure. Madame Jojo’s, The Joiner’s Arms, Vibe Bar, Black Sheep Bar, Micro-universes for so many people, ALL GONE.  Fabric nearly closed last year, Ministry of Sound the year before that and currently, there are battles to keep Tin Pan Alley (Denmark Street) and The Curzon Cinema alive. The truth is that London is changing rapidly because of development. Cross rail and The Overground have sprung up. On the one hand, Londoners can now get about this country of a city a bit more easily (ironically when the Overground was introduced, I was living abroad and wished it had existed when I was going to Plastic People every week).  On the other hand, more transport links mean more developers who know that areas are attractive to live in if they’re well connected.

“2008 to 2013, 41% of planning applications within a kilometre of a Crossrail station cited the new railway as a justification for the development proceeding, equating to around 53 million square feet of residential, commercial and retail space.” GVA

Expensive flats, offices, shops and posh eating places are springing up where great clubs, pubs and bars used to be (or next to them leading to noise complaints). There’re not attractive to me, nor most of my friends, family and acquaintances. Arts and culture are attractive, interesting, vital and good for the economy, but alas, they don’t seem to be a priority to London’s current mayor; money does. At least we have memories though, right?

 

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Photo Gallery: Hideout Festival 2014 by Georgina Cook – FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music.

In July I wrote some words and took some pics at Hideout Festival in Croatia, for FACT magazine. Photo Gallery: Hideout Festival 2014 by Georgina Cook – FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music..

Itz Not Rite: R.I.P DJ Rashad.

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Rashad TEKLIFE by Ashes 57

My beautiful friend Ashes57 lost her soulmate and colleague DJ Rashad last Sunday. I’m so so devastated for her, I’ve found it difficult to concentrate on anything else this week. I can’t imagine what she’s going through, but I can say that admirably, she’s decided to carry on with her solo show in Manchester which opens this Thursday, as a tribute to DJ Rashad. All proceeds will go to his family. Please show your support if you’re in the area, or even if you’re not – you can donate here: http://www.skiddle.com/whats-on/Manchester/Twenty-Twenty-Two/Ashes57-Exhibition/12159758/

DJ Rashad tribute exhibition by Ashes 57

DJ Rashad tribute exhibition by Ashes 57

I’m sad for the rest of his crew too, Teklife, for Hyperdub who posted this moving statement; for Chicago, Rashad’s home city; For everyone that knew him globally and of course, for his family & his friends. I’m sad that his incredible and prolific musical career has been stopped short at the age of 34.

I’ll never forget the first time I heard his music, in my little apartment in Paris. It sent me into a trance, it got me excited about new music for the first time in ages, so much so that I tried to write a decent article about Footwork, for a French magazine called Shoes-Up. The few times I experienced Rashad playing live (with DJ Spinn and once with Litebulb dancing, with a paper bag on his head) sent me and my mates and pretty much anyone in the vicinity into a frenzy.

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DJ Rashad & Litebulb, Sonar 2012

I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that sonically he was a game-changer, inspiring and befriending many, many a global producer and DJ. On this side of the pond – DJ’s Oneman, Kode9, Addison Groove and Ikonika, did a heartfelt tribute mix on Boiler Room yesterday; as did Bok Bok and P.O.L Style on Rinse FM on Sunday  (see below). 

Despite all this sadness & feeling of injustice on my brow, the cliché about death making us feel grateful for our own lives is ringing in my ears, more loudly perhaps than it’s ever done so. I think this is mostly to do with the epic creative output of a man that died too early and how evident the love that people all over the planet have for him.

Kode9 wrote on Twitter last Sunday:

For what it’s worth, Rashad makes me want to live my own life much more brightly, more truly, more happily, more positively. “Have fun and live life,” as he said himself in this recent interview.

R.I.P Rashad, thankyou.

 

“Listening with our eyes” / “E2 Portraits”

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“…Theodor Adorno once commented that truth is like a handful of water. I think Adorno chose the right analogy but his chemistry is wrong. Truth might better be viewed as analogous to a handful of sand. Most of the grains slip through our fingers but some stick and can be held in the palm. In a desperate attempt to hold onto these pure grains – and in the intense hear produced by the desire to know and understand – a lens is forged.”

– Listening With Our Eyes – Portraiture as urban encounter by Les Back in Picturing The Social Landscape: Visual Methods and the Sociological Imagination, edited by Caroline Knowles & Paul Sweetman

The above quote is from an incredibly fine essay about a set of photos that I was fortunate to see daily for the three years of studies in the stairwell of the brilliant Art dept at the newly renamed/restored Croydon School of Art. It’s author, Les Back describes how residents, shoppers and tourists interact with a large format camera that was set up on weekly Sundays in East London’s Brick Lane by students on the Photomedia course at Croydon, every Sunday for a number of weeks in 2001 (there’s a great behind the scenes blog about it here). Among other things, the different roles that the photographer’s undertook while maintaining equal co-authorship of the project is interesting, as are their initial concerns related to the concept of the “camera as a weapon” and thus, not wanting to disturb people with it. I and undoubtedly most photographers of public places have certainly felt that at times. Back’s expansions on the characters within the portraits make it a challenge to pick out a favourite; while it’s possible to “hear” extracts of their stories on sight, the added descriptions give concrete details or truths, that sometimes make sense and sometimes lead to sad surprise. That the institutional Beigel Bake features in the essay is a bonus; it and the Bengali community are two things that remain strong in Brick Lane, through all it’s change and flux, thirteen years later.

L*** letter to…

I was given a blast of Red String, I won’t say it’s tied me up, cos that implies possession or pain, or devouring, none of which is occurring. Wrapped in red string is perhaps more suitable, and apt for this week; a woman wrapped, softly in red string. This shade , I imagine.

What is happening in fact is that I finally have an excuse to write a letter that I’ve been wanting to write (with the small chance of me doing / reading anything with any real focus or merit right now being another excuse).

Prior to sitting down to do this, my red string spider friend had suggested that I make a card for “somebody special.” I smiled and knew that I’d already decided to write a letter to South London.

Now I’m doing it, I realise it’s actually also to friends, family, place & the things that link them. Isn’t it always?

Where to begin?

————————————————————–

S.LDN

6.  _Thing_

The Story So Far

After 2010 Par LDN.

13.02.13

Dear S. LDN

6 months after 2 final weeks in Paris spent drifting, wrapping up loose ends in my head and pencilling new ones on a piece of paper around the word “café,” I’m back.

Apt that it was written in a bubble, as that what I’ve been in since returning; a bubble which occasionally bumps into others- one called “College aka MA in WTF with New Extended Family” and a smaller one named “The Overground aka Norwood J-CP-New Cross-Dalston-The Wick.”

Funny how they all interact, these bubbles, just like the 3 ecologies – environmental, mental & social. Which one is which in this instance? It could be debated; undoubtedly all are all; yet there’s “Café” announcing it’s the environmental – where I spend most of my time, being, talking, doing, thinking, listening, tasting, sensing. (working implies wear & tear.)

Between a large long wooden bar and a mirrored Palace. It’s a curious position.

I’m faced with anybody you wish to send into the room; truly faced with them and repeatedly, be they – looking for the studios next door, or neighbouring book palace; delivering parcel or object, on a defined quest for chocolate cake, recalling the going-ons of the time since the last time I faced them, the going-ons of the triangle; flirting gently, sadly with palm glued to forehead; comically (“FYI: I’m snorting a marshmallow up by nose”) or cloyingly with questions about the meaning of l***. Sometimes, it’s business meetings, sometimes bleeding fingers picking heart strings, with stories of x’s; with those in search of counsel, those willing to counsel; those who buzz.

But most simply South LDN, I’m faced with serving you a drink.

It all starts with a drink. That, or directions. (“Through the car park, up the top of the lane and then right or left and then right,” / “It’s just here, I’ll show you.”)

I’ve lost a thread or two.

Another ecology. The mental. The masters. Hmmm. Sometimes it looks like this in my head

image sometimes like this:

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& this .

Occasionally, it’s some old dead white dude called Ranciere (fuck.off), sometimes agonism, sometimes anarchism (wanted, needed); the Heygate Estate:

Garage Typography

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Sometimes New cross & Deptford; a football head man un-selling you tea or hot chocolate at a free café (below) ;an un-customer-customer called “G.” who has “a very massive sound system,” clashing, subtedly with “A.” from Iran who came here for his girlfriend whose teenage daughter got pregnant by a man that A. eventually got in a fight with & thus ended up in prison.

Free Café

It’s Coco, (the café cat), sitting at the end of the bar, gently, her head in nature; Donny Sunshine helping to build a den; making me long to learn or even be Italian, pondering life and sound, affirming & testing my “capo” abilities; Christina, listening and questioning words with a look of confidence which earns her the title Auntie; Youngheehee giggling, Isa walking through Soho telling a man to Fuck Off, leading us astray, to Haringey (O Hai North, there you are). It’s the others, less present (so far).

The social? Well, that’s a large part of the last paragraph; the bubbles overlapping. And Hackney:

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and scraps & pubs of Crystal Palace triangle:

Loveoui. (Numidie)

There’s something missing, no? A fourth ecology?

http://vimeo.com/31513791

Spirit?

There’s some behind me. “Organic” rum, gin and vodka, Breezy’s black cherry bourbon, JD, brandy, absinthe. I tasted a stronger absinthe at Numidie a few weeks ago, willingly spiked with hot sugar and dark, black in fact. I didn’t realise until some time after that it had kissed me before knocking me over, leaving me with a headache & laughter in my core, 16 bruises and wanting more.    I didn’t intend on that rhyming, I promise.

rhyme

Pronunciation: /rʌɪm/

Translate rhyme | into French | into German | into Italian | into Spanish

Definition of rhyme

noun

[mass noun]

  • correspondence of sound between words or the endings of words, especially when these are used at the ends of lines of poetry:poetic features such as rhythm, rhyme, and alliteration
  • [count noun] a short poem in which the sound of the word or syllable at the end of each line corresponds with that at the end of another:Harriet sang Ben little rhymes
  • rhyming poetry or verse:the clues were written in rhyme
  • [count noun] a word that has the same sound as another:‘gravel’ can be interpreted as an absurd rhyme for ‘travel’

verb

[no object]

  • (of a word, syllable, or line) have or end with a sound that corresponds to another:balloon rhymes with moon(as adjective rhyming)rhyming couplets
  • (of a poem or song) be composed in rhyme:the poem would have been better if it rhymed
  • [with object] (rhyme something with) put a word together with (another word that has a corresponding sound), as when writing poetry:I’m not sure about rhyming perestroika with balalaika
  • literary compose verse or poetry:Musa rhymed and sang

Red string.

How complicated it must seem to others, but to me it’s one of the simplest existences we’ve had so far, LDN. Freedom and space to fill and only one night of boredom in 6 months:

image

+ one or two wobbles, one leading to a wobbly map and the other to affirmations:

Express the mind

Don’t get stuck

Be direct

Instincts are not to be ignored

Own yourself

NON COMPLIANCE.

Nice one.

Anyway, this was meant to be a l*** letter to you, South London. I don’t know how to write l*** really but it’s all here, somewhere.

With Parakeets,

GC xxxx

P.s. Quote of the day: “I love my wife! Why would I buy her a Valentine’s card?”