A Derridian moment for Dalston’s Scritti Politti

junction in Dalston, a district in Hackney, London © DavidAltheer[at]gmail.com
Green1116: Green Gartside wi Scritti Politti @ St Mark’s church Dalston, NE London, today 251116 © DavidAltheer [at] gmail.com
Green Gartside: radio revivalist

ONLY the brains ’n’ beats Dalston-based band Scritti Politti would promote their first concert in three years not on a pop TV channel but on the thinking person’s radio station.

Radio 4 was chosen because of a link that goes back almost 40 years.

The punk-to-rap posters’ frontman, Green Gartside, told The World Tonight: “Back in 1978 I’d just formed the band Scritti Politti at art school and we decided to buy ourselves 12 hours of studio time to record our own single to send to John Peel [1939-2004, influential BBC radio DJ] and we had three tracks, two of which had lyrics and one of which didn’t.”

They decided at the recording session to add some words from the radio – “Radio 4, of course,” said Gartside – and in the “Duchampian-Derridian spirit of the time” we thought it would be interesting to use “whatever was there” as the vocal for the track.

It happened to be a young Harriet Cass reading the 10pm news.

Harriet Cass (publicity pic)
Harriet Cass: pop news at 10

Cass did not know about her role in pop history until she was emailed by present band member and journalist Rhodri Marsden several weeks ago and asked to re-recorded the bulletin for the live performance of what Radio 4 termed “the prog-rock track”.

Gartside said its performance live would be “the first time ever,” and a special seat would be reserved for Cass.

The sweet-voiced singer told her: “The spotlight will swing around to you when the track’s being performed.”

David Altheer 020216

* Scritti Politti, the Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, Camden Town NW1 8EH, Friday 5 February 2016 9pm, from £20.

* Main pic: the junction in Dalston, a Hackney district capable of the occasional Duchampian moment. Other images publicity pix.

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