Monday, April 18, 2005

Pirate radio dj banned from going on rooftops

Can I point out, first of all, that Slimzee is 23! Good god.

Anyway, if Rinse FM is actually affected by this it seems like a bit of a blow to the scene, unless there are a lot of new pirates I don't know about... Grime is (like lots of underground music) driven by pirate radio as much as face to face events, studio work, and shows.

The power of the pirates in London is not to be underestimated - when I lived there in 99-00, I used to listen on the nightbus coming home from the party, one night I stayed outside my door because there was better reception outside my flat, to listen to the end of the show as it got light out. It was almost as fun listening to the banter, and the shout-outs to all the regular listeners, the messages people were sending to each other. It is such a vibrant, dynamic scene, you can tell everyone is living in it. I still have some minidiscs of shows with DJ Hyper I think it was, including some really silly freestyling vocals, just horsing around on the air, but once you listened regularly you got to know people's names and styles and felt affection for them..

Beyond my personal connection with it, pirate radio is one of the engines for creativity and hype in a scene that has not yet (fully) caught on in mainstream venues. Although I'd guess it's the broadcast laws rather than IP law specifically that's being enforced here, its enforcement stifles creativity and prevents artists from developing themselves, making connections, and ultimately getting paid. I remember first hearing Toasty's tracks on a downloaded radio show - I knew I was sure as hell going to buy that on vinyl.. If it takes loads of cash (or expense-account lunches) to get your tunes on mainstream radio, then newcomers and non-rich in music have few options for airplay except webradio and pirates.

Of course, another engine for maintaining creativity in London is the dole, I think (much like Berlin, welfare leads to the creation of some fucking great art).

Anyway the news from the Evening Standard - 15 April 2005:
"A pirate DJ who ran an illegal radio station from the top of a tower block has been banned from every roof across an entire borough. Dean Fullman, 23, otherwise known as DJ Slimzee, has received what is thought to be the first antisocial behaviour order of its kind for his Rinse FM broadcasts. The garage station, among the most popular in the pirate scene, helped launch the career of Mercury Prizewinner Dizzee Rascal. But council officers and the broadcasting authorities say such stations steal electricity, damage buildings and interfere with other radio signals - including those of emergency services. After a year-long hunt by Ofcom and Tower Hamlets officers, Fullman was caught by surveillance cameras at Shearsmith House in Stepney. Fullman, of Gernon Road, Bow, received a three-year conditional discharge at Thames Magistrates Court after admitting operating a pirate radio station and causing £10,000 of damage by erecting broadcast equipment. The court agreed to Tower Hamlets council's request for an Asbo prohibiting him for five years from entering any roof of any building over four storeys without permission."

I got this news from Fiddy

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