By the time 1998 had ended I had left University and with a shrug of indignation turned my back on the music industry by applying for, being interviewed for and then accepting a proper ground up job in Devon. A decision which was surprisingly easy to make. The choice, be the with the woman I love and live within spitting distance of green spaces, fresh air and beautiful beaches or spend the next two years at best, hanging around toilet bars in Camden speaking to massive bellends with raging cocaine habits about the new Warm Jets EP. The only downside was that I had to start actually buying music and gig tickets again instead of blagging it.
For the second year in a row, a record connected to at least one of Daft Punk topped my end of year poll and because of that, it was also the second year in a row where a track where guitars were virtually non existent topped the end of year chart. Although of course it does sample a guitar riff from a Chaka Khan hit from the eighties.
Music Sounds Better With You – Stardust (1998, Virgin Records, Single)
Aside from sexy one off single from French dance geniuses, 1998 was pretty much the year when Fatboy Slim took over the planet. I remember DJing at University in late April and dropping ‘The Rockerfeller Skank’, ‘Brimful of Asha’ and ‘Renegade Master’ one after another and each one nearly took the roof of the place. ‘The Rockerfeller Skank’ in particular filled dancefloors months before it was officially released. Each one of those would feature in my 1998 end of year chart, ’The Rockerfeller Skank’ came second, Cornershop were fifth and Wildchild were tenth.
The Rockerfeller Skank – Fatboy Slim (1998, Skint Records, Taken from ‘You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby’)
Brimful of Asha (Fatboy Slim Remix) – Cornershop (1998, Wiija Records, Taken from (originally at least) ‘When I Was Born for the 7th Time’).
1998 was also the year that the Britpop bubble burst and many of the bands that had been lumped in with it moved swiftly away from it. Pulp, for instance, released ‘This is Hardcore’ and managed yet again to thrill the critics, but at the same time, angered and lost most of the new fans that they had gained during the ‘Different Class’ years. Personally, I thought and still think that ‘This Is Hardcore’ is Pulp’s second best album and that it was several yards better than ‘Different Class’. ‘This is Hardcore’ was placed sixth in my end of year chart.
This Is Hardcore – Pulp (1998, Island Records, Taken from ‘This is Hardcore’)
I’ll jump forward a few years if I may, it is relevant. In 2004, might have been later, I can’t quite remember, I saw Asian Dub Foundation down at the Eden Project and it was an amazing audible experience. I stood quite close to the front – just right of centre – and around halfway through the band stopped and the small video screen to the right of stage showed shots in the crowd. The camera zoomed in, for a second, it paused on my ugly mug and then suddenly switched just right and there stood grinning was an Asian man, who waved at the camera.
“This man’s struggle inspired the next song. Satpal Ram. Just another innocent man”
For it was he.
Free Satpal Ram – Asian Dub Foundation (1998, FFRR Records, Taken from ‘Rafi’s Revenge’) which was at number eight just in case you were wondering.