Mike Skinner is an artist worth following. I first encountered his work whilst watching CD:UK many years ago. They showed the video for The Streets single “Let’s Push Things Forward” and I thought it was great. Then I heard a set by my favourite DJ, Laurent Garnier, and it opened with “Turn The Page”. After that I bought The Streets first album “Original Pirate Material”, and soon after that followed the brilliant concept album “A Grand Don’t Come For Free”.
Then I began to go out clubbing, DJing at parties and eventually running my own club night ( Edinburgh Dream Factory ). During that period I really didn’t have much interest in listening to whole albums, so the next two Streets albums passed me by. However by 2011, the year that the final Streets album “Computers And Blues” was released, my life had calmed down enough that I could start to absorb culture again. I really enjoyed the final album, especially the songs that featured Rob Harvey. So, I was glad that Mike Skinner’s next project was The D.O.T. – a group consisting of the pair.
I love books and learning. I also love The Streets song “On The Edge Of A Cliff” ( From the album “Everything Is Borrowed”, one of the albums that passed me by when it was released back in 2008 ). There are lots of books that pop up in the video for this song, and I went onto Amazon and bought the lot after I first watched it. They include books on body language, screen writing and writing better lyrics. Mike was being a great, modern, artist – he was sharing his influences.
I used to enjoy following Mike on Twitter, but these days the best way to keep up to date with his activities is by regularly stopping by his excellent website;
His book “The Story Of The Streets” is also a good read;
With lines like “Around here we say ‘birds’, not bitches” ( from “Let’s Push Things Forward” ) Mike proved that you didn’t have to sound American to leave a mark on the Urban landscape, and by exploring darker themes like the loss of his father ( on “Never Went To Church” ) he proved that tales of vulnerability can resonate harder than anything that your average, egotistical, rapper could offer.
The further into this life that I go, the more mysterious and pointless it seems. This is definitely not an easy ride. Therefore, it’s often important to remember the words of Winston Churchill – “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”.
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Until next time,
Stephen Michael Clarke