Friday, May 20, 2011

Blog Post #1991: Boy from the big bad city

Twenty years ago I was living near Blackheath common in South London, with a job on the newly launched Judge Dredd Megazine and trying my hand at writing comics. I'd emigrated from New Zealand the previous year. After a rocky few months, I found regular work, somewhere to stay, a great flatmate, and even a girlfriend.

Life in London was a real culture shock. Being among people from so many different background was strange and unexpected and kind of exciting. The city felt like a true melting pot. Never got into raves [didn't like having blissed out prats blowing whistles in my ear all night] but musically sounds and genres were fusing.

Witness 'Dub Be Good To Me' by Beats International above, featuring Norman Cook [aka Fatboy Slim] playing the bass line from 'Guns of Brixton' by The Clash behind a cover of 'Just Be Good To Me' by the SOS Band. Throw in a shuffling post- Soul II Soul beat, some toasting MC and you've got one of 1991's biggest hits. Still sounds fresh to me.

By the end of 1991 I was full time editor of the Judge Dredd Megazine. The comic was a success, with plans afoot to take it from monthly to fortnightly. My comics scripts weren't going so well, but my mentor Steve MacManus urged me on. He said I'd regret if I didn't learning my craft as a writer - and he was right. [Thanks, Steve!]

The clip above - Candy Flip's cover of 'Strawberry Fields Forever' - sums up 1991 for me. I remember listening to this with friends in baking heat on Blackheath Common, enjoying being alive and in London. The song came out 21 years after the Beatles split. Hard to believe another 20 years have passed since then. Onwards!

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