- Editorial by Nick Gibbs
This text presupposes you will have seen publicity about the Merky Grime festival in the last few days. This text is my own personal response. It follows a spoof post yesterday which was spectacular in the negative response it received.
Though this text may be less controversial in its approach, those who have a downer on the grime festival are likely to view this article negatively too. Sorry about that, but my kitten allowance is all used up this week, all I’ve got left are Grime Kittens that won’t stop fighting.
WARNING – EXPLICIT LANGUAGE SOME MAY CONSIDER OFFENSIVE. PLEASE DO NOT CONTINUE IF YOU CONSIDER PROFANITY IN LANGUAGE UNACCEPTABLE
Stuff & Nonsense
All this stuff about trouble coming hand in hand with the genre is nonsense. I think this is the 3rd or 4th Merky festival and I cannot recall any problems in previous years. Grime does come with problems and contradictions, but to say Grime is in itself a problem is ridiculous*.
Re the videos of fighting, Jesus it is a good job these sensitive types weren’t going to gigs in the 70s and 80s, I can’t remember many gigs that didn’t include a bit of a punch up. We even had a dance that was a fight. I’m not saying that makes it right, but a bit of perspective please. The video I have seen is of people v people punching and kicking. No one is dead, no one is stabbed. You know what, not everybody is as shocked by fighting as you might think. Put a load of young people in a charged environment, add alcohol and drugs, sometimes it’s gonna happen. I’m certainly not going to get all Daily Mail about it.*
Despite all attempts to fan the flames, fact is we did not receive one 061 (emergency services) report, a good indicator in itself that all the kerfuffle was 90% hype 10% substance. 12 Stabbings? I’m not even going to go there.*
IMO there were some dodgy agendas at play. I’m not saying people were pursuing direct social/racist agendas, but there was a lot of subtext out there, and their ignorance in not seeing their own elitism or racism for what it is gives no excuse. There was a lot coming from people who would use “I’m not racist but…”, though I doubt many of them would have had the balls to spout their bigotry and rhetoric directly to those they judged.
“Why bring a rap event to an island that’s known for its dance culture. Get your own bloody island!!!”
“just take merky fest somewhere else innit”,
“init take it down to Malia keep them far away”
These are comments on one post. WTF? When has dance music, any music, been about segregation? I’d have thought the fact it was the fastest selling event in Ibiza ever would be a pretty good justification for it coming, but I’d love to hear some more on keeping ‘them’ away. Perhaps we could impose a bpm range, say 120 to 140, that would keep that drum n bass lot out too, they’ve never really been ‘the same’. Utter bollocks, and these Genre Nazis can get the funk out of here.
And I tell you what, if I see one more great wag using the word grime in a derogative sense, I will, well there isn’t much of a follow up to that as I won’t do much, but anyway just stop being thick.
“grime by name, grime by nature”,
“even the name says they are dirty”
Unfortunately, and much as it saddens me, chances are they will win the day. The events of the last few days will probably result in the end of that Grime festival in Ibiza. In my book that means some twats who are too quick to share and embellish any old bollocks they read on social media, often with very dubious motivation, will deny us a successful and established event, and with it the opportunity to hear the most exciting, genuine and uniquely British music genre to come from the streets in 40 years. Like Punk before it, Grime breaks the boundaries of acceptability set by those before it. Like Punk it is raw, it is shocking, it is full of contradiction, it scares the fuck out of the mainstream, and most of all it makes no apology for being what it is.
Music is of subjective appreciation and I know I am in a very small minority in my socio-eco-demographic in appreciating Grime. But you don’t have to like it to acknowledge its legitimacy. I honestly don’t think people see themselves when they respond so negatively to it, but as with most things the reality on the inside is nothing like the fear when looking in from the outside. It is now 12 years since I started listening to Grime as a result of a road trip with my son from the UK to Ibiza. At the outset it was ‘turn that rubbish off’. By the time we got to Ibiza it was ‘put that one on again’. However, to this day my ass has been free of popped caps, and if I can mention it without upsetting too many people, I still haven’t been the victim of a drive by stabbing. I interviewed one of Grime’s founding fathers DJ Target in 2017. Lovely guy, made a selfie video with me for my daughter, and at no time did he attempt to kill me by stabbing or any other means. He did tell me a bit about reflecting back on his earlier lyrics and his feelings of social responsibility for the effect they had though. Not so gangster is it? And Stormzy, bloody hell, I wonder how the Church of England are dealing with the fact that one Grime ‘gangster’ has probably done more to gain interest and awareness in Christian doctrine in the last year than their entire organisation? “Blinded by your grace” – what? someone stick a parental advisory on that.
I am not saying in all of this that the Grime world does not have issues, some pretty bad baggage, and though I respect artistic freedom, when it comes to the level of the Blackpool 12 year old who’s bars include stuff like ‘I’m gonna rape your bitch mother’ I’d like to have his parents beaten.
But the problems are not the music, the music reflects the problems. Let me put it like this. The London boroughs of Lambeth, Hackney Camberwell etc. were not charming little communities reflecting chocolate box notions of the English Idyll until the day before The More Fire Crew got mics in their Christmas stockings. The music came from the problems and trying to turn that equation around to blame the music is lazy, sinister, or idiotic. It is like trying to blame football hooliganism on the offside rule.
Despite the unwelcome attention of those who do give the genre a bad name (a problem that often comes with success*), I do not think any other music genre could claim to have so many positive role models and so much positive influence on the people who’s lives the music reflects. People like Akala and Wretch 32 writing lyrics that could justify their place on any great bookshelf, Nadia Rose and Flohio giving a voice to young women. If you can see past the hype the reality is that Grime may appear nasty, but it is giving an outlet and a voice of expression that gives some vulnerable youth a creative path in place of one that could be so much more destructive.
Ibiza Should Know better
*Something that does grind my gears a bit on all this is the failure of a recognition in seeing ourselves. So much of this is exactly what Ibiza, what we, are so quick to whine about. A video taken out of context that makes Ibiza look bad. The death of a tourist due to excess portrayed as a reflection that Ibiza is responsible. Fabricated nonsense circulated as fact. We hate being judged but are so quick to do so to others. We should know better.
Number one, not born to run
About the gun
I wasn’t licensed to have one
The minute they see me, fear me
I’m the epitome, a public enemy
Used, abused without clues
I refused to blow a fuse
They even had it on the news
Don’t believe the hype
Don’t believe the hype, Public enemy, 1998