The Church Of Me
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Kissing in the churchyard, I know a righteous woman

Monday, July 29, 2002

I suspect that happy hardcore is merely Cream techno with smarter and faster drumming, but it is irresistible, mostly because it has no pretensions towards permanence. As with JA pre-release dub 7-inchers in the '70s, and jungle white labels in the early '90s (and perhaps mp3 now), it arouses and encapsulates the rhythms of the moment and then moves on. Has to be better than the Coral.

The new React triple CD compilation Bonkers - The Rezurrection is, I would venture, pretty much everything you need to know about happy hardcore. All full-length CDs (no 30-minute ripoffs here), each with a different mixer: Hixxy, Sharkey and SY (the latter handily mixing up some "old skool" classics). No essays, no booklets, no balanced assessment of its cultural import in UK/European working class history. Hixxy's sleeve note reads thus: "Thanks and enjoy! - Hixxy." Like Burroughs' Nova Mob, we do our job and go. It's basic, it's functional and my God is it a future.

The standout track for me has to be track 2, CD 1: You're Shining by Breeze and Styles. Follows the template of pretty much everything else here: frantic rhythm which pounds for a while at 200 bpm then suddenly retracts to admit a ghostly synth and a "passionate" female vocal (Hixxy kills Celine Dion passion!) which has infinitely more resonance here than it would in the racks of Tooting Woolworths. She sings: "I feel alive/Now I can breathe again/I call your name/My friend" against the poignant synth line whose chord progressions echo those of the main theme of Philip Glass' Koyannisqatsi soundtrack. It drags me back, persuades me forward.

Everything else here is essentially more of the same (with more of a Mike Skinner-style post-'80s hangover on Sharkey's mix CD: "Inverted Reality," "Acid Aftermath," etc.) but gradually intensifying towards rhythmic and harmonic crossroads. Listen to MC Storm's "Just Accept It" - the single the Prodigy should have chosen for a comeback. "WHY CAN'T YOU JUST ACCEPT IT?" he roars. "I'm ravin' crazy like a drug addict/Leave me alone, it's my life, I'm sorted." Confidence or desperation? Whatever, it rocks. Feels right for me just now.

posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
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When one's life, one's future is at stake, one is tempted to say damn Roland Barthes, damn the image-repertoire, damn Green Gartside and Martin Fry, damn the corner, I just want the intractable. To be illuminated.

There is no alternative. You have to engage fully with life, however unnatural it may seem to you. And I have to stop referring to me as "one" or "you" when actually I'm talking about me. It's a cop out.

So. When I say "I love you" I am not conscious of its many subtextual associations, even though I spent two years studying them and having to write essays about them, and whatever relationship it may or may not have to self-love. When I say "I love you" to someone it is because I love them. I have spent so many years NOT loving myself that it is a habit which I am trying to (re)learn. I am honest when I say that the greatest pleasure available to me is to give pleasure to others. When I say "I love you" it means what you mean - in other words, you mean the world to me, you are the central focus of my life. I can derive no more passionate pleasure from life than being with you or communicating with you - from what you give to me and what I can give back to you in return.

So I have to be open with you. I love you. Your company makes me happy. Your friendship makes my heart tremble with joy and awe. My heart would race to the top of my head if one day you wanted to be my significant other. It would be more than my heart could ever hope for. Even if you did not, my lifelong friendship is yours and my closeness to you permanent. I accept you - I want you to accept me. You are such an important part of me.

And yes this is not a hypothetical example. And yes this is what I am feeling. And yes the "you" is a real "you." And yes I am writing this for one specific person who is now likely to hit me over the head with a Rough Trade carrier bag! But I cannot keep it hidden. It is all part of my soul, my life, as I know in my heart that you are.

posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
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For those who care - and I imagine that's all of you - a new life has, for me, begun.

Yesterday (Sunday) was a GREAT DAY and I feel liberated again, able to face the world with impunity and confidence.

Thus I have been listening to happy, positive music, including Soulwax's 2 Many DJs, to which I've finally got round to getting (no time limit on feelings - sometimes you have to be ready for a piece of music or art, ready to readmit concepts like "fun" into your life), as well as the finesse-laden slapstick of Cassetteboy's The Parker Tapes (Blair, Jamie Oliver and other cut-ups; bit like V/VM without the Wire editorship ambition) and the fantastic Bonkerz - The Rezurrection triple CD which proves that there is life left in happy hardcore (it includes the previously mentioned "You're Shining" by Breeze and Styles). Lengthier comments on these and more will follow, as soon as I've sorted out more abstract concepts like "day jobs" :-)

posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
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