This Saturday 23rd March, Tim Sheridan (he of VeryVeryWrongIndeed party and label infamy) launches a new event, True South at Jamm, in his beloved South London locale, Brixton. Tim’s a Northerner by extraction (Leeds if you’re asking) but he’s lived in Brixton off and on for 20 years, so we thought that instead of just writing about the night, we’d ask him to tell us what the area means to him, with the aid of some Youtubes to aid the memory.
Watch out for True South on Brixton pt2 with True South guest DJ Frank Tope (Rooty / Glint and most recently of ace disco-housers Wild Goose) coming soon…
My fond Brixton years, when I was young and full of juice, were around ’90 to ’94 when I was part of the Fungus Mungus collective and we’d be doing parties in the railway arches down Valencia Place. If you are thinking “very similar to World Unknown” I’d agree. Yeah very similar, although obviously musically different, but united in approach, I think. I was working much more as a musician than a DJ in those days and Jerry Dammers [from The Specials] was part of our thing and that was the beginning of what you see today as his “Spatial AKA Orchestra”. In fact some of the lads from then are still in it today. But at the beginning there were only about 10 members and I got to do a bit of percussion which I cherish to this day as a real honour. All the daft outfits, mannequins and cosmic decor and that is all very much the legacy of Fungus Mungus and it’s still a large part of the show today:
Back then we were very much into our cosmic funk and dare I say, even a bit jazzy! Call the cops hahaha! I’m tearing myself to bits with the choices on offer but if I think back to the sunshine and beers of 1991, it’s Lonnie Liston Smith and the full version of “Expansions” that pops up.
…but could just as easily be “Movin” by Brass Construction or Ronnie Foster, George Duke or Betty Davis or God I could go on all day! I’ve made a lot of mates over the years as a House DJ and I think they all know deep down there is something not right about me hahaha! They can smell the jazz-funk. Yeah I sort of was a real electronic purist in the 80′s but when I came to Brixton in ’89, I really opened up into the funk. In the mid 80′s I was mental for Go Go and Earth Wind and Fire but I was like the only one in the village up north haha. But in Brixton I jumped in feet first. So much so that I kind of took a break from raves and House, just as it was getting humongous. Yeah stuff like Manu Dibango’s “Soul Makossa”:
…were being played to death by me and my lot. I mean lest we forget these were the Acid Jazz years. Like any made-up-over-lunch press label we had no idea it was a ‘thing’ at the time. Many of us then went on to either be full-on Acid Jazz players. Both session and full time for Mother Earth, the Sandals even Akasha. So instead of putting up some stuff that is frankly a bit limp and obvious like Galliano or others who were in our orbit then I’d put forward the stuff we listened to rather than played. Like Parliament “Give Up The Funk”:
I mean when I was a full on muso in orchestras as a kid and it really was seeing Bootsy on rock school that literally freed my arse.
I was very buttoned-up until I became a drummer. Cymande “Brothers On the Slide”:
is another that again isn’t obscure for the sake of it, it was just on constant rotation. I mean if you had to analyse it Cymande were British Funk and in Brixton then we all wanted to – and probably thought we were – part of a new scene. Looking back it’s all a bit embarrassing really, but it’s not the most embarrassing bit of my past by a long chalk hahaha! In fact they were great days. We’d all go en masse to Glastonbury with our own stage and stuff and have a little enclave there. I’m going all misty…
A lot of it was just great rock music too if I’m honest. When I used to do the door at Fungus Mungus, I’d love to hear things mixed up. Made the night go quicker. I thought for years this was called calamine lotion but it’s “Foggy Notion” by the Velvet Underground:
…that always takes me back. And I’ll always remember hot days in a stupid beach buggy bodding around with the the Doobie Brothers “What a Fool Believes”blasting out and it raising more smiles in Brixton than you’d think:
The downfall of those times was basically the slightly hippy thing at the centre of it all. I loathe hippies for the same reason as anyone else: That when it comes down to it they are as rotten and self-centred as anyone they rail against, but all the more sickening for being so hypocritical.
This was one of the hippy-esque anthems at the time that was always on. I love it but it’s a bitter-sweet reminder never to trust the fuckers. You know what sums it up for me though?