Tuesday, May 06, 2003


Saturday night. Shaka at the Rex. His first night since he burnt his hands in a fire that consumed half his record collection. The dance was absolutely full from start to finish and Shaka had lost none of his trademarks - shattering tops over iron basslines. In Shaka's hands reggae is stripped of its niceties, the melodies razed apart to reveal an angry, glaring bass, the hidden message lurking under roots' sweet harmonies. A true legend who continues to provide an authentic reggae experience, who has spawned a hundred imitators, Shaka's particular style and sound seems almost as important, at least in Britain, as Tubbys and Lee Perry. The rumours are that he is contemplating retirement, but the crowd left him in no doubt of their feelings by the widespread and heartfelt clapping at the end of the dance, a rare occurance at the best of times, but which showed exactly how glad the people were that he's recovered and is back, sound undiminished, heavy, rough.

Friday, May 02, 2003

May Day

The government announced today that yesterday's May Day celebrations were successfully corralled in part due to the new weather co-ordinating technology they have been developing. Previous attempts at crowd control by making it rain heavily have generally been unsuccessful but improvements in the orgone technology and better weather prediction models have vastly improved the capacity for weather-led public order operations. Cynics on the Commons' Secret Conspiracies Committee were heard to complain that the rain actually only fell in the morning and that the afternoon, when most of the protests were due to be held, was actually mostly warm and dry but the minister batted away these gripes, pointing out that the police have problems using tear gas in a heavy downpour. They had, however, requested a wet surface to facilitate dragging away protestors and to inhibit street sit-downs.

In all, the minister pointed out, the whole operation was a success. The public's right to congregate was successfully curtailed and many otherwise ordinary people were made to feel criminalised for no other reason than they wanted to take part in a legitimate if somewhat unfocused protest, with the added prospect of rioting late into the evening. The police chiefs were also reporting a rise in morale, after many police managed to discharge some of their general frustrations on a crowd mainly made up of lacklustre students.