Sometimes, things seem to take on a life of their own. When I set up rippingvinyl.co.uk the idea was to share the music I own on vinyl. The kind of music you’d only get to hear if you came round mine for a rummage. It didn’t seem right that all this fantastic music existed and yet, thanks to record label short-sightedness, no one will hear it unless they’re lucky enough to own it.
What I didn’t expect rippingvinyl.co.uk to become was a place where I unloaded stories. To be honest, I’ve never been very good at giving myself the big ‘un, but I’ve found I really enjoyed the little tales attached to my vinyl.
Sensateria, I thought, were the exception. thought I’d just put it here because it’s a cracking tune. Nothing more to say. Nope.
Only… Sensateria’s ‘Give Me My Auger Back’ appeared in July 1997, at the height of big beat – We had to call it something. And who says the music press just invent scenes? Think Monkey Mafia, Lo Fidelity Allstars, Lionrock, Bentley Rhythm Ace, Propellerheards, Death In Vegas, The Wiseguys. The grandmaster was, of course, Norman Cook, the clue being his Brighton nightout, Big Beat Boutique, which he ran with Skint’s Damien Harris.
You’re probably one step ahead of me here, because, yup, Sensateria was Norman Cook, like Mighty Dub Catz was Norman Cook. Hands up, I had no idea at the time, just loved what was coming out of his excellent Southern Fried label. Listen to it will you? How could I not have known? Fine journalist I was.
Anyway, I’ve never met Norm, but I knew Zoe Ball to say hello to in her pre-being Norman’s wife days. She was a proper indie kid, you’d bump into her all over the place – actually, it was mainly Camden, but you know.
So one night I was in Camden doing a feature on the inaugural Camden Crawl. Can’t remember if it was the actual night, or if we were doing a preview. Whatever. In tow I had Barry Ashworth off of Dub Pistols, couple of bods from Symposium, Matt and Phil from the Lo-Fis and Louis Jones from Warm Jets. Sure there was someone else. Ho hum. Get me shameless name dropping. I knew the stars let me tell you.
So anyway, after a couple of halves we found ourselves in the Palace (Camden not Buckingham) where I got chatting to Zoe. Introduced her to the charges for the night and, blow me over, if a week later she wasn’t dating Louis. Lovely man, didn’t deserve the kind of tabloid attention he got when she suddenly went stella – landed the Radio 1 Breakfast show I think it was. As I recall it was a NoTW splash. Holiday snaps, big old lens, properly pap job.
I was in Bedford a few months after their relationship fizzled to review Warm Jets. They could be a bit hit and miss live, but when they got it right they were stonking. They were on fine form that night.
After, I was sitting in the dressing room with Louis. I apologised once or twice, while he maintained that look popular with rabbits, especially those flattened by the car with the headlights. You know, the one full of tabloid hacks gnashing their teeth and frothing at the mouth.
Louis wasn’t at all starry, he understood the game we all played, he knew his place and made the most of his time. I liked him a lot. He didn’t regret it one bit. And he’s got one hell of a story waiting for the grandchild.