The 90s : I, or “Also on the album is Gang Starr’s remix of “What I Am” by Tin Tin Out featuring Emma Bunton”

Even the light was different then: more slanted, more oblique, or perhaps this is just the sepia of the mind’s eye. I’m not entirely sure how widely known it is that Mica Paris did a cover version of U2’s ‘One’. It nestles, remixed by Perfecto, on an album called “90s Remix” that I am currently listening to. Mica Paris was born Michelle Antoinette Wallen 27 April 1969 in Islington, London. How different must her teen years have been to mine, hers spent singing gospel in the early 80s, mine reading sci-fi and writing bad poetry. Islington is pretty different from how it must have been in 1969, too. My teenage years were spent in the strange, oblique light of the 90s. Or perhaps this is just the sepia of trying to remember a time before web 2.0. Everything is sepia if you give it long enough. I’ve given the 90s long enough. Now it is time to try and understand.

Mica Paris released her version of ‘One’ on the album “Black Angel” (this album was Paris’ last album to chart in the UK Top 200 (to date)). It features production from Boy George and Raphael Saadiq. The record label was Chrysalis, and the year was 1998. The fact that 90s boutique remixers Perfecto got their hands on it (or were given it, and told to do something with it?) and the fact they did such a hamfisted job, are both intriguing if not hugely surprising. The melody is reduced to a strange, synthetic appropriation of Edge’s guitar track. Her vocal is overwrought and strangely neoliberal, the soulful original strangled in some yodelled notes that precursor the everyone can be famous histrionics of the X-Factor. Around the corner was SyCo, Gordon Brown, Clegg’s tears drowning truth in a bucket.

Also on the album is Gang Starr’s remix of “What I Am” by Tin Tin Out featuring Emma Bunton. Later, during the year 2013, Mica became a regular guest on ITV’s flagship show ‘This Morning’.

“We” say it’s a New Year

We, whatever that pronoun now means, move into the New Year.  It’s been a ‘festive season’ but I haven’t felt very festive: Black Friday rugby scrums, pointless mark ups and then “sales” featuring yet more scrums and midnight queues for merchandise.  “We” marked Christmas Day and we also observed the solemn drinking bacchanal that is New Year’s Eve.  It is odd to find words so ineffectual against a tide of news from around the world that grows darker and darker.  War continues, and against a backdrop of social unrest and inequality comes the inescapable truth that the 2008 ‘crash’ and its repercussions actually shifted money into the financial elite – the already rich, the tax-evaders, the ‘tycoons’ and ‘oligarchs’, the giant corporations, the grey areas where crime has a face that is bland, often-white, often greying and with a Home Counties postcode on their P60 return.  They got richer.  The middle bit took a pay freeze.  The poor people got fucked and the post-war welfare state was slowly disbanded in the name of ‘Austerity’.

“We” (there is no ‘we’, increasingly) sit here atomized waiting for Houllebecq to be proven right (again) and waiting for Burgess’s future to come into being.  “High Rise” happened soon after it was written (Barbican Tower, perhaps) but only really came true in the last few years with the poor doors and homeless spikes in Zone 1, proud and irascible and unrepentant.

It isn’t even a thing to do is it ; to write a “blog” ; it’s an irrelevance, a fart in the windy dark.