Friday, June 26, 2015

Skepta, grime, resistance, Francoism and taking back the city

My 4,000 word Skepta cover story for The Fader, on his remarkable journey, on Tottenham, grime, confidence, and why England is like a burger with nothing on it. This was a joy to write and research - albeit, the research started over a decade ago in the dingy, smoke-filled basement of Plastic People, watching him spit over Skream's Midnight Request Line. The first time I interviewed Skepta it was 2007, everyone was certain grime was 'dead', and I wrote it up for the much-missed grime, dubstep and reggae zine Woofah.

And a well-time spread on the Observer New Review's music cover about the next generation of grime and UK rap MCs, the kids who grew up watching Dizzee when they were just starting secondary school - featuring interviews with the remarkably talented Stormzy, Novelist, Krept & Konan, Jammz and Lil Simz.

A Guardian interview with Jam City in which he perfectly captures the mood of London and its embattled music scene - of vestiges of hope, love and resistance in the age of Foxtons and SSRIs.



An essay for the London Review of Books on the legacy of Franco in modern Spain: ostensibly, a review of the book Franco's Crypt. This was months of work - so much to think about, on memory and forgetting, on fascism still rearing its head, on mass graves and grave symbols.

A report from Seville for the New Statesman about the tensions between the 'electoralistas' of Podemos and their refusenik comrades in the radical social movements; featuring a disproportionate number of clown jokes, for a serious political magazine.

A piece for VICE on the hugely significant results in Spain's May elections - perfectly dovetailing so much of what is important in 2015: gentrification, post-representative politics, Pasokification, David Harvey's theories on resistance after the factory, and why we have to Take Back The City. The new Mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau is the former spokeswoman of the radical housing group the PAH; this is the way the wind is blowing...