After re-uploading a bunch of my old DJ mixes a few days ago, I decided to listen to them again for old times’ sake. One of the older mixes, B-Bouncy B-Beats, inspired me to cast my mind back several years, in a rose-tinted, nostalgic stylee, to the second-coming of big beat-inspired silliness…
The year was 2007 and the UK dance music scene had never been healthier. Fidget, aka Wonky House, was leading the charge in clubland with its phasers set to bonkers, its utterly daft, farty basslines filling dancefloors all over the country with a fun, relentless energy that even the recently introduced smoking ban couldn’t extinguish.
The Fidget scene at the time was dominated by the mysterious Fake Blood, who was latterly revealed to be the butch one from Right Said Fred (kids these days know him better as Burial or one of Deadmau5‘s stand-ins when the real Deadmau5 is taking a day off to swim, Scrooge McDuck style, in his mountain of gold coins), along with Burberry fanatics Sinden and Hervé (aka The Count of Monte Cristo aka the Ambassador from the Ferrero Rocher ads), with their oft-copied, signature flatulent bass and choppy, garagey beats.
Today, some might argue that these artists have never escaped the silly stigma of the Fidget days. Their signature sounds were imitated and plagiarised on such a grand scale that some bass-loving rebels were forced to take another popular, but far more underground, genre called Dubstep and re-invent it as The Most Annoying Musical Genre Ever just to distract everyone from the relentless, McDonalds Happy Meal cheesiness of Fidget house.
Fidget became that annoying little bit of dog mess that gets stuck in the zig-zaggy bit on the soles of your Adidas shell toes that you can’t even dig out with a twig. It seemed like it was destined to fade away with the next rain shower, but frustratingly stuck around for ages, stinking up the place. That was until Ministry Of Sound released its Fidget-centric Now That’s What I Call Bandwagon House That Everyone’s Already Sick To The Teeth Of Vol. 69, which effectively sounded the death knell for Fidget and sent it the same way as Big Beat and UK Garage, to the great, big HMV bargain bin in the sky.
A small part of me:- the lager-swilling, stranger-hugging, E4-watching part, misses Fidget. It was silly, throwaway music that didn’t require any chin-stroking or in-depth critical analysis. Its sole purpose was to help people have fun and give them an excuse to wear their baseball caps at a jaunty angle. And few can argue that there’s anything wrong with that. Unless, of course, you have a strong aversion to having fun and wearing your cap at a jaunty angle, in which case you might as well end it all now because you’re most likely dead inside.
Anyway, back to this mix…
As you’ve probably guessed by now, some of the tunes in this mix haven’t dated very well (as well as the aforementioned Count & Sinden, I’m also looking at you, Messrs Tubbs and Rascal!), but there are some modern classics in there, especially those of the Breaks persuasion… Jewelz by Baobinga & ID epitomised the fun and creativity of the breaks scene at the time. There’s a bonkers little ravey number, which I believe is by Basement Jaxx under their Nifty pseudonym, which bangs hard. There’s also a fine example of the Plump DJs in their absolute pomp with their ultimate party anthem System Addict. Elite Force‘s I Don’t Think So channels late ’90s Chemical Brothers with loads of cosmic synth action and dark, broody bass. And speaking of the Chems, the mix closes with one of Tom & Ed‘s most euphoric Electronic Battle Weapons, Saturate. I’m sure the fun-lovers amongst you would agree that most of these tunes would still smash a party’s back doors in these days too.
Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy this daft little slice of mid-noughties nostalgia. Try not to take it too seriously, afterall no-one really did at the time.
You can find B-Bouncy B-Beats, along with all my other mixes, on the DJ Mixes page.