If there was one music blog that could be truly said to be essential reading, it was that of legendary selector Greg Wilson, who announced yesterday that he was calling time on proceedings to focus on an arguably long-overdue magnum opus – a book about the ‘black music scene in the early-‘80s, and its crucial influence on the course of UK dance culture’.
Since the launch of Being a DJ in June 2010, Greg has covered topics as diverse as the influence of X-Factor on popular culture to the music hall era of the 30s and 40s (as well as, of course, the growth of electronic music) with authority, humour, humility and a mind-blowing degree of knowledge.
I’ve made a decision to suspend my blog in order to place my attention elsewhere – all is explained in the piece I’ve just put up. Having launched in June 2010, it rounds up to10 years of blogging for me. All content remains archived and available online.https://t.co/CEQgfoUHvI— Greg Wilson (@djgregwilson) June 30, 2020
As he put it in his final blog post, “There’s 10 years-worth of content now, which will remain accessible, documenting the final decade before the next phase, whatever that is, for 2020 is undoubtedly a year of turbulence and change, fuelled by confusion, outrage and anger – the point where we all realise that this 21st century is very different to the last one and, for better or for worse, there’s no turning back.”
With that in mind, 909originals has compiled a list of ten essential ‘long reads’ from over the past ten years (click the headline of each to open in a new window). Alternatively, check out our recent interview with Greg by clicking here.
We wish Greg all the best with his book project – given his past form, it’s likely to be an indispensable read. 🙂
“Culture is all about connections and fusions, previously separate aspects coming together to create a new expression, and this is exactly what happened in Britain with the black / white mix of ideas and identity that shaped (and continues to shape) the course of popular culture in this country.”
“There was a price to pay for this type of stardom, and the actor, which was what David Bowie always professed to be, found himself trapped within his own concept – the divide between reality and fantasy no longer clear.”
“We live in a cut & paste epoch – this is a natural state for younger people who’ve always had computers around them, and to whom the manipulation of sounds and images is second nature. The digital domain is their playground or, with a bit of focus applied, their laboratory, their studio – if this is what we’re doing now, I can’t begin to imagine what’s around the corner when the next generation, having hopefully become more culturally aware, make their statement.”
“I think that if, by some miracle, all the clubs in the UK were overnight converted to their American counterparts with the best lights, sound and effects and so on – a lot of people would just not be able to take it in”.
“For many years, when people asked me what I did for a living and I told them I was a DJ, I could put money on their next sentence being ‘yeah, but what’s your proper job?'”
“When it comes to history, not only the history of dance culture, but in general, you’ll find that the originators are more often than not usurped by those who benefitted most from their pioneering spirit, and who, in turn, are then presented themselves as the originals.”
“Those of us who would claim to be keepers of the flame, ‘living to music’ here and now, have a big responsibility – we can’t allow ourselves, amidst the sensory saturation that accompanies our contemporary existence, to forget how to listen.”
“Looking back, October ’82 was such an exhilarating time for me. My clubs were packed, I was playing tomorrow’s music today, my mixes for Mike Shaft on Piccadilly Radio were hugely popular, taking my name further afield, and I was exactly where I’d always wanted to be, no longer just a contender, but at the top of my field, playing precisely what I wanted to play to whom I wanted to play it to.”
“For the past few years I’ve been saying to anyone who cares to listen that it’s only a matter of time before a new generation of young people stand up and state their outright rejection of the X Factor, Big Brother, and the rest of this celebrity culture they’ve been force fed for so long. Instead they’ll demand substance over style, refusing to accept the second rate scenario currently on offer, placing their support with bands and singers who play their own instruments, write their own songs, and have their own ideas.”
“Whereas Oakenfold represents the rapid ascendancy of the superstar DJ, complete with its accompanying riches and popularity, for Weatherall it was all about musical integrity, and he was happier DJing to a smaller more committed audience than to the throngs in a vast stadium, always playing what he wanted to play, be it Dub, Techno or Rockabilly, for which he held a great love – he was very much a maverick who preferred to remain on the margins.”