As you can’t have failed to notice, we’ve spent this week celebrating grime’s past, debating its present state and looking forward to the future. Hindsight can be great, and we all allow ourselves the odd rose-tinted fond glimpse back at the way things were. Sadly, a huge part of looking back - a dominant component of our inability to forget that which has passed into being, that which is affixed unchangeably to history - is embarrassment, regret and shame.
So, with that heavy weight of human nature upon us, let’s have a look at the times when grime decided to be a silly bit of knockabout fun rather than a massively important cultural British phenomenon. The following moments are crude, grotty, chintzy, ill advised or just plain piss-poor. I’d say "enjoy" but you’d have to be a Channel AKA sadist to get pleasure from this.
The Video For "All Over The House"
He might have always had the best voice in grime, and posses our number one grime verse ever, but before he became everyone's favourite Sports Direct repping MC, things weren't so great for Skepta. For one of the scene’s undisputed finest, he's been involved in some unadvisable projects. Sometimes you can't tell whether a Skepta video is awful or weirdly brilliant, like this attempt at winning over some Turkish fans.
But one Skepta video that we're not in two minds about is "All Over the House", a grime-video-cum-dodgy-British-porno that needs to be seen to be believed.
Porn's great, we're all OK with it now, but British porn will always be the rankest, grubbiest, most squalid, depressing, cosmically bleak thing imaginable. Why Joseph thought we'd want to watch a housewife get pumped on her kitchen work surface is beyond me. Rancid. (IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING THAT LINK IS SERIOUSLY NSFW, EVEN IF YOU WORK IN A LIKE A COOL PLACE WHERE YOU BOSS IS YOUR MATE AND THERE'S "FLEXI-TIME". TRUST)
Bizzle at the Shaftas
For some reason those jokers at wank providers PornHub decided to invite Bizzle to their 'Shaftas' (get it?) ceremony to present an award for something Lethal feels passionately about: “Best Sex Scene”. They then got some poor lad to ask him about sex. The result is, like most of my sexual experiences, two minutes of squirming embarrassment that leaves everyone involved looking to get on the next bus home.
Top Gear Bizzle Performance
I love writing for Noisey but Christ alive, the stuff they make me do. I had to sit, chained to my desk, eyes propped up with Goodhood matchsticks, watching something time has mercifully forgotten but whose horrific traces will fester in me for years, slowly becoming the only thing I can think about before bed. This, of course, is Lethal Bizzle performing on Top Gear of the Pops as part of Comic Relief 2007. Now, I'm not Charlie Brooker so I won’t bang on about how EVIL Comic Relief is and how VILE the Top Gear Lads are but just think about the actuality of being in the Top Gear studio knowing that you can smell the stale fag and London Pride haze of Clarkson and co, knowing that you're surrounded by men who have emotional investments in cars. Then imagine that as well as this, you've got to watch Lethal Bizzle mime while James May makes racist quips about hoes. Then imagine that people put this on telly and that dads all over the country scratched their dick and thought it was a good idea. This is the country we made. This is what we became.
Someone out there with one of those Lord of the Mics bomber jackets and the Tunnel Vision CDs might disagree but the short man of grime's left some pretty permanent stains on the last decade's eminent art form. Everyone at Noisey seems to love Tinchy and I get he's probably really friendly, gets the rounds in and charms people's mums so I don't want this to seem to like a personal dig but unfortunately he’s responsible for three of the lowest lows:
If there's anything worse than British porno it's the British propensity for nostalgic reverie, for childish whimsy that’s all about cute Christmas adverts and #aww. Chucklevision was always shit, and you're a terrible person for thinking that two creepy uncles with a penchant for carrying ladders are worth dragging out the attic in our enlightened times.
2) The “I'm a Celebrity…” slot
Straight up, the early series' of IACGMOH are UK classics, masterclasses in mixing the mundane with the surreal, letting a nation watch Gillian McKeith eat anuses while Christopher 'Biggins' Biggins writhes in mirth on his hammock. It gave us Katie and Peter. It gave us "Insania". It gave us the Iceland Bushtucker Trial mystery meat pack. Somewhere along the line though it all went to shit. Bashing F-listers for being F-listers is grim fare but there's something that stinks of degradation and failure emanating from the jungle these days. Look forward to Tinchy showing the older junglists how to do "street" handshakes and his sad little face as he's forced to watch Michael Burke "rap" after a few glugs on the shiraz stash.
First time the words “Pixie Lott” and “bright” have been so close together.
When Dizzee met Corden
All right, alongside our porn and willful childishness and the weather and the government the other worst thing about this sodden miserable island is our rapacious desire to revel in mediocrity. There aren't many more mediocre experiences in this once green and pleasant land than watching England knock the ball about the back four before it sails harmlessly out for a throw in, Ashley Young shaking his head with the sullen air of a man being refused a big insurance payout. I genuinely don’t know anyone who supports England. England games fill me with ennui. So it's surprising that this collaboration between Anthony Blair's former problem and David Beckham's cuddly, cheeky-chappy best mate gets me spewing hot bile over my keyboard. It's just… it's… a misguided Blackstreet interpolation that crudely fucks itself into 'Shout' by Tears for Fears, with James cunting Corden’s slo-mo emoting in the video. It's just that.
Right, London, yeah, it's alright, I've lived here for a while now and I've found the three good pubs and sussed out the best McDonalds (have you SEEN the one by Bank, with its touch screen self-service pillars? It’s like ordering burgers from the Death Star) but if anyone ever, ever tells me they love London I have to immediately remove them from my life. Why? Grindie. It was you and your mates who made it happen and I hope you have the horrible, shit, ruined lives you deserve. You fed some of the most vital music this country has ever produced to Larrikin fucking Love and the guy with the twatty fringe from Maximo Park.