Teenage Granddad: Tim fingertrouble interview Pt 3
The one in which we discuss classic boots, club Bastard and copyright with Tim fingertrouble, as part of the series looking back at the birth of the UK bootleg (mash up) scene.
11. Which are your favourite bootlegs (other people’s)?
Ahh that’s a hard question – karma I guess for asking others that for all these years!
As well as quite a few of the ones you’ve already posted – my favourites are Gimme Ragga Joanna by Lyd (aka Cartel Communique), fond memories of Soundhog & Lionel Vinyl’s Dooms Straits at the ‘final’ Bastard, Phil n’ Dog’s Muppet Gay Bar which in one track sums up the silliness of Bastard, DJ Lumpy’s Higher State of Raam which is wonderful madness, Madeon’s Pop Culture which shows where it’s heading, Fondue Meltdown’s Missy vs Dub Be Good To Me which is one of the first mashups I ever DJ’d, DJ Magnet’s Love Comes Quickly Running Up That Hill which is crack for an 80′s kid like me, Ian Fondue’s Edit which doesn’t get the love it deserves and DJ Earworm’s classic ‘Stairway to Bootleg Heaven’ which usually tops these lists for me, mostly because it showed me you could create an ambient multi-mashup with a real emotional feel.
Muppet Gay Bar
Stairway to Bootleg Heaven
12. What was it like at the clubs King of the Boots and Bastard?
Despite what Jonny of Cartel Communique said to me once (‘You were here at the start weren’t you?’ to which I replied ‘No!’) I came to Bastard a bit late and never went to King of the Boots sadly. I was tempted but I thought someone would hit me! When I got there at the end of 2003 it was an amazing place, more threat of being hugged than hit, and I kicked myself for not going earlier. It was sweaty, it was insane, and people really didn’t seem to care if they had silly hats on, or zebra paint on their heads. London tends to suffer from a hipster mindset, those who stand and cross their arms at gigs. None of that at Bastard, I think as well as Mike and Jonny, Jo Zephyr and helpers were also big part of that, handing out hats or painting people. Not in a enforced way, or a fancy dress / arty way like you get now at Bestival…not self conscious at all, no-one seemed to care so you didn’t either. I never tried the famous Specials, one regret I have (as well as going earlier). That lack of caring what people think also seemed to spread to the music, it was more a DIY culture, anyone can get up and play (I only DJ’d twice, first time was as part of a ‘Bring Your Own Boots’ night) and not be too worried about what people might think. I think Mike said to me once something like ‘Messy is fine, messy is what we’re about’. It was a big thing to DJ though – and you wanted to do your best – but there wasn’t those usual limits. Little known fact is Bastard played a lot of non-mashups too. It was about the mix, the party, some tracks just felt like they belonged there.
13. It all seemed to exciting and vibrant in 2002/03 to hear mash ups. What marked the start of the end?
Money really – record labels & corporates sniffed the latest thing, people were dragged away and concentrating on their ‘career’ or trying to make one rather than just having a good time, and then that’s when a few egos started to flare. I don’t think the likes of MTV Mash helped, I got to see those documents and being told what to mash and which sources to use seemed to go against everything I hold dear in bootlegs/mashups. The anarchy, the illegality, the WTF? nature. That just didn’t fit within the corporate structure. Interestingly a similar thing happened to podcasting around the same time, maybe a little later.
I don’t want to sound too much like an old granddad – there was a new set of people who popped up around that time – some are good friends of mine, and it always goes in waves. We had Bootie become global, Uprising, I even did two Radio Clash parties and a whole load of other things happened. But yes for me, that was the ‘moment’ and the inspiration for those things, and I was glad to witness it.
14. The issue of copyright and the C&Ds dogged GYBO from the early days until its closure. Is there an equitable solution? I remember hearing Fergal Sharkey getting passionate about the need for artists to be able to control the use to which the things they produced were put. And if that meant not re-releasing something that was their choice and right.
I’ve had massive arguments over the years with various artists and people about this. I see it more as a visual artist really – my training was that – that your work are your children, a necessary part of the process, but you abandon them when you finish and they have their own identity. Some thrive, some don’t. But you don’t try and control what people do with them, within reason (commercial exploitation aside) because the art is transformative, it exists in culture and is also modified by that culture. In fact a lot of modern art it’s about that reaction, you want people to desperately interact, change the work, give it a new identity. That’s the work. So I find it strange when artists, either musical or visual, don’t appreciate that fans or other artists interacting with your work is a big compliment and you want that conversation. It means the art has succeeded, become something bigger than you – I guess that scares some people. I don’t think you can put that genie back in the bottle anyway – technically or legally or morally. If the public can’t see the damage in a free mashup being made and shared, unless someone finally proves that really does hurt artists, then the public will continue to make mashups.
15. And what is music’s role for you now?
Pretty much the same – it’s always part of my day to day life, whether listening or creating. Still making mashups and still podcasting, not as frequently as the old days but still having ideas and still creating them. I’m warming up for Kleptones and DJ Lobsterdust at Bootie London at the Electrowerkz on the 12th Oct (plug plug) which is a rare DJ set from me. I’m aiming to make GYBO and Bastard proud with my set, playing some of the old skool bootleg classics as well as newer, trying to bring a little of that ol’ Bastard spirit to Bootie! And yes I’m going to be wearing a silly hat (well, bowler most likely).
Huge thanks to Tim for the interview and his support for this series. To prove it’s not all bootlegs, here’s a fingertrouble original.
fingertrouble – lookout