Without realising it, my week has ended up revolving around one three hour slot. Now you wouldn’t think that a three hour old school jungle show that starts at 11am on a Friday morning would be so essential, but honestly, if I’ve got to be out of my house for Uncle Dugs Old School Jungle and Hardcore show, I really miss it.
Like all Rinse shows, it’s always there on the podcast, but for me, I’ve got to listen live. I obviously need to get out more. The show has become part of my week to the point where I have to make sure I’ve got my work finished before the show starts because it’s so hard to concentrate when you’re being assaulted by hyper-energised lemon-facing amen breaks and drops that make you feel like you’re about to fall through the floor. I’m not alone: one twitter fan admitted that he’d “sent students out to lunch early so this tutor can tune in”.
Listening to Dugs rolling out old Slipmatt tunes (this one actually made my body go into some kind of involuntary freestyle shock out) or 1994 Krust records at a time of day when you’re usually in a very different zone makes it even more enjoyable and the fact that a Friday morning slot in the UK is Friday night in Australia hasn’t passed by some ardent Oz listeners.
The show’s been going since March 2011, and on his old station, Kool FM, before that, and has gradually become a focal point for an increasing interest in this period of history that laid the foundations for much of the UK’s music culture. You can hear jungle and hardcore sounds slipping back into new music, including the people that have figured that juke and jungle make excellent bedfellows, and there’s been a bubbling junglist sideline to UK club culture for a while: Zinc and Kode9 played jungle sets at last summer’s Deviation Carnival session, Mark Pritchard’s been playing jungle tracks in his Africa Hitech sets, and any savvy DJ knows that playing the odd jungle classic is a gold-standard guaranteed way to increase the vibes – or to paraphrase a Dugs saying: “vibes for miles”. If there aren’t at least a handful of old school jungle and hardcore sets smashing it at this summer’s festivals I’ll eat my radio.
Dugs been doing a weekly three hour old school show for time without running out of tunes, which tells you something about the huge volumes of music that was made by these artists between the late ’80s and mid-late ’90s. More importantly, the tunes sound just as powerful as they did back then – this really was music that hadn’t been made before born of technological, chemical and social alchemy that’s pretty much unrivalled nearly two decades on.
So obviously I like the tunes, and I like hearing three hours of music from one particular period of time: today was ’94-’95, last week was a birthday show covering ’88 – ’98, but he’s also bringing in key people from the time to chat over an hour or so, whether it’s the promoters behind Labrinth and Desire, or Dan Donnelly, who started Suburban Base. So it’s not just shining a light on important times and important tunes, it’s documenting a scene that was run by renegade producers, promoters and DJs who just did what they wanted, and set off a chain reaction of massive creativity.
Listening to Run Come Follow Friday reminds me how different life was back then. If you knew about this stuff you probably knew about all of it. If you were part of a more mainstream England, then you probably never heard any of it. There was no internet, no YouTube, just record shops and tape packs and people borrowing stuff off their friends. It might have been underground, but back then, underground meant thousands and thousands of people.
See you on the #rcff tour?