Friday, 22 January 2010

JAMIE T AND SYMPATHY

I apologize if it ain't your cup of cha, but I'm delighted to read in the Thanet Times that indie-punk hip hop maestro Jamie T has had the music video for his forthcoming single "Emily's Heart" filmed in Thanet. Filmed on location in Broadstairs, Viking Bay will feature in the vid, as does the Victoria Gardens bandstand, the Continental Corner Deli and Morelli’s Cafe on the seafront, and stars child actor Felix Light, no doubt portraying the poor young scallywag in the song who gets his heart broken.

I don't think Jamie T himself features in it, which is a great shame, as it seems like this video is more in the vein of "When the Sun Goes Down" by the Arctic Monkeys (i.e. treated more like a short film – like Scummy Man – than a traditional music video). Obviously, the video itself hasn't leaked yet, but I embedded a YouTube vid of Jamie T's BBC Radio 1 live lounge performance of "Chaka Demus" to whet your appetite.

As for Jamie T himself... well, the Mercury Prize-nominated artist is probably likely to appeal to those who like the idea of mixing Mike Skinner's lyrical observations with the Arctic Monkeys' approach to live instrumentation, only imbued with a more rapid-fire vocal delivery (akin to most MCs or rappers). To my memory, I think Jamie T also has a mixed-race lineup for his band, so obvious parallels will be drawn with The Specials, which I'm sure most Thanet locals will appreciate as being a positive thing.

Needless to say, not everybody's likely to appreciate the music itself, but I do, as I think Jamie T's probably one of the most musically unique acts on the indie scene at the moment, blending hip hop, folk, soul, indie and punk, so the fact that this music video is filmed locally is a real feather in our cap, in my opinion. But it's not the first time a hip young indie band has filmed a music video here, of course.

Most notably, I remember that ska band The Dead 60s filmed the video for "The Last Resort" here in Margate, prominently juxtaposing the grey concrete claustrophobia of Arlington House with the ironic 'Dreamland Welcomes You' sign. It seems to me like Thanet has become a first port-of-call for film production companies if they want a social deprivation hotspot to exploit, particularly if the lyrical content of the songs deals in socially aware platitudes ("The Last Resort" calling a non-specific seaside town "a disgrace, a total wasteland," etc.).

Not that it's a cheap shot at our expense, of course, I think it's great that Thanet's not simply being left to fester in a tangle of cobwebs and forgotten about. The more exposure we get, the better, in my view. That way, we can use that exposure - either positive or negative - to improve our little town's prospects.

Besides, I'm hoping that Jamie T's music video might usher in even more top draw music bookings for Paul Palmer at the Margate Winter Gardens to capitalize upon. I'm sure he will: the man seems to have the Midas touch at the moment. After all, if Jamie T's promotional people are more than happy to feature Thanet in his music video then it would doubtlessly be fantabulous if Jamie T could be booked to grace the stages of a local music venue here in equal measure.

One thing's for sure though – he won't be performing in The Britannia pub, as I'm sure you've all heard the sad news of its closure. I used to be really fond of The Britannia. I often used to pop in there for a cheeky pint to enjoy the local bands, or nipped in to play pool with one of my mates who had an unfortunate habit of playing "Rape Me" by Nirvana on the jukebox, possibly to incite the local punters. It's amazing how many funny looks you get when a song comes on imploring the listener to rape him. How we escaped in one piece I'll never know.

But I'm very glad to see that a Facebook group calling for the revival of The Britannia pub is taking off, accruing some 1,100 members, so I'm hopeful that it'll be revived as a music venue at some point in the near future. It just goes to show how important social networking has truly become, even on a local level. Since we're living in a world where all people care about is numbers and profit margins, the only way people can often get their voices heard is by setting up a Facebook group, building up a following and simply hoping for the best.

Obviously, once you hit the 1,000 mark, you technically can't be ignored, so all we've gotta do is play the waiting game until some enterprising chap snaps up The Britannia, reopens it and honours the Facebook group's wishes. In either case, it's good to see that people care enough about our local music scene to speak out, particularly if it expresses our wish to keep our town musically vibrant. As a consequence, I'm sure this Jamie T music video will further our cause considerably. Vive la revolution!

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