About a month ago, my Uncle Aby told me in passing at a family meal about how he wants to capitalise on the sightseeing tours you see constantly parading around the streets of London, and the growing global interest in grime music, by starting his own A-Z grime tours of London. Naturally, I thought he was taking the piss.
A few weeks later, when we saw eachother again, he spoke about it once more. This time he relayed an entire story around it all, with drawn up plans on his iPhone including an entire A-Z itinerary of stops around London based on places referenced in grime lyrics (Lewisham Mcdeez, Roman Road, Meridian Walk, etc), and photos of him taken at every single one of them. He's even fixed himself up a Facebook page, although, bless him, he has no followers at this moment in time.
Once Aby found out I sometimes contribute to reputable music website Noisey dot com, he was keen to present this glorious piece of information to the wider world so that he can get this thing launched with the first bookings of customers. So, here I am, being paid to interview my own Uncle about his idea: Aby's A-Z Grime Tours. I hope you'll become his first clients.
Noisey: Aby, tell everyone who are you and where you're from.
Aby: I’m a young guy in my late 50s. Born and raised in East London. But I now live in Southend. If anyone wants to come and get me, then they can find me at Cliff’s Pavilion. And I’m bald. People may recognise me from Golden Balls.
What made you want to start grime tours?
I was out on Brick Lane with a couple of the local lads one afternoon, and we spotted this big group of tossers walking round and just gazing up at walls. I had no idea what was going on. Never seen anything like it before. We tagged along with them for a bit and it turns out they were on a ‘Street Art Tour’. It was so sad… Paying to look at graffiti. One of my mates who I was with mentioned that I should do my own, and I thought of this: Aby’s A-Z Grime Tours.
How does it work then?
Well, we can all meet at a place I announce via Whatsapp message, then we go round on buses.
You got grime tour buses?
No, the TFL buses! One of the stops can be Morley’s Chicken Shop – from "Trapping Ain't Dead" – which is where we can have our lunch. I'm not paying though. Then we carry on until the last stop and everyone fucks off.
How many stops are going to be on the tour?
26. Each letter of the alphabet. Actually, no… 25. There are 25 stops. I couldn’t find one for letter ‘Y’ so I just thought fuck it, we’ll have a 10 minute break when we get to that letter. Or lock the tour off there depending on how washed the wetty’s on the tour are.
How did you pick them?
Each stop is a place that has been referenced in an MC’s bars somewhere along the line in grime. So ‘A’ is the A13 Beckton Exit, what Kano spat on “Garage Skank” – "Well your girl's poom poom stinks like the A13 Beckton exit".
Letter ‘B' is Bow School where Wiley went, and where they have a paving stone about him. Proper tour shit, my G.
Sometimes I can mix it up too. Like, if we get to 'L' and it's before 10.30am, then we can go Lewisham McDeez, and I'll tell them about The Square and get sausage and egg McMuffin. If it's later then we go to Lush in Brent Cross, from "Pulse 8" by JME ("Don't ask me why I'm in a rush / Don't ask me why I'm not tweeting / I'm in Brent Cross, man I'm shopping in Lush").
Reckon there's a crowd for this?
Yeah, everyone is into Skeppy these days! We can do "Ace Hood Flow" and I'll take them to Tottenham Police Station ("I walk from White Hart lane to the flats opposite Tottenham police station / Paid subs to go on the radio station").
What's your favourite stop on the tour?
Probably the pitches behind Percy Ingle, from Cadell's bars ("Like where were you when we kicked ball? In the pitch behind Percy Ingle"), cos they’re behind Percy Ingle and it means that I can get some pastries while everyone tosses about. And probably stop Z cos it means the tour’s over and I can go home. This is gonna be bare tiring.
How much are you going to charge?
£5 per person, or you can buy a family ticket for a tenner.
Obviously I know this isn't your full time job. Do you wanna tell the readers what you really do.
Yeah, I won't take grime tours too seriously – just something I do a couple times a month for a laugh. In real life I run market stalls on Roman Road and Petticoat Lane, selling women’s clothing. Some of the finest. They call me the Roman of Roman Road, you get me? Anything that happens on Roman Road needs to run through me, and if it’s a no from me, it’s a no from everyone. Just like dat.
What kind of people do you think you’ll attract on your grime tours?
Maybe now grime has hit America for real, you’ll get some yanks?
I couldn’t give a shit about them lot there. They didn’t let our Skeppy in their country!
Will you be offering a pamphlet, or goody bag, or some sort of optional extra for punters?
Nah. All of that costs extra money, causes extra hassle and means extra tossing around. Just come on the tour and be gone afterwards. Simple.
What is the best ever grime par in your opinion?
“If I can’t bun your parents, I’ll bun your next of kin” – Jay Amo. And also when Jammer had to change his “I’m a big man but I’m not 30” bar to “I’m a big man but I’m not 40”, because he did eventually turn 30. Par.
If anyone is interested, where can they find you?
Get me on my Facebook. Facebook dot com forward slash grime tours.
Good luck Aby!