Levi Roots’ Tears
One thing the kids of the post-print media generation are going to miss out on is the visceral thrill of having your name published in the letters pages of a magazine. Those of you with a British Newspaper Library membership and literally nothing better to do with your time could find the opinions4u of a 13-year-old me clogging up NME, Melody Maker and SFX magazine back in the day. Being a three-time When Saturday Comes subscribers email “Wikipedia Vandal of the Week”, while undoubtedly an honour, doesn’t really register in the same way.
I mention this not just to fill up word count but to explain why I dragged my ass across to London’s trendy Shepherds’ Bush, accompanied by someone from fucking Rugby of all places, to watch Levi “off the telly” Roots do some songs. The high point of my publishing career to date isn’t managing to get a joke about Mobb Deep in a Bizarre Magazine article, or managing to be the darling of Powerslam magazine’s editor for two months, or even that time that Guardian music and film editor Michael Hann exchanged emails with my ex-girlfriend after we’d split looking for dirt. No, it’s the fact that I have two entries in the Viz Profanisaurus. I know, right? “Ummfriend”, being a fuckbuddy (as in “this is my, ummm, friend”), and paedophile’s door, one who is used to being constantly broke. I am a paedophile’s door right now, due to circumstances too tedious to explain, and am spending the next ten days living solely off of mortadella sandwiches and Diet Coke. My skin will look like a Manuel Noriega’s aged 14 by the end of this.
So when you’re broke, you’re always looking for free food. I feel a little bit sympathetic when PR agencies hit up Ich Luge Bullets with the details of their latest launch. I mean, if your product is really so desperate for publicity that you’re hitting up a 700 hits-a-day blog, it may be time to go and do something else with your life. But but but: we got an email saying that Levi Roots, Mr Reggae Reggae Sauce himself, had a new album out, and would we like to come and see him perform? There’d be free cans of Red Stripe and hella chicken, with Reggae Reggae Sauce to dip it in, plus there may even be the opportunity to meet Peter Jones! Wow. Free chicken and everyone’s fourth favourite Dragon in one evening?
You just feel so… Godless when you are that cynically claiming free shit with no real intention of doing anything to advance the cause of Levi Roots. And, really, what could I do? Levi Roots is the breakout star of one of the hit British TV shows of the past decade. Levi Roots is in every branch of every major supermarket. Levi Roots has his products in Subway sandwiches and on Wetherspoons’ nachos. Levi Roots even has his own TV cookery show nowadays. I run a blog, on the other hand, where all the American readers I’ve picked up in the past few days after being linked off Smoking Section, Cocaine Blunts, and Okayplayer have gone “What the fuck limey bullshit is he dribbling about? I’m done”. How exactly can I help Levi Roots? My grandfathers both spent World War II trying to blow the shit out of the leader of his faith, for one thing. I mean, yeah, this is an improvement on that, but an improvement worth six cans of Red Stripe and a whole chicken?
We were taken to the event in a “Reggae Reggae Sauce” Routemaster bus which was playing a CD containing, clearly, the only reggae tunes that the PR agency arranging the thing had ever heard of. In fairness, one of these tunes was “Ring the Alarm” by Tenor Saw, which made me reminisce of the entertainment to be had when Audley Harrison used to enter the ring to the Buju Banton redub of it, so it wasn’t a wasted evening. But seriously? A Routemaster bus? thelondonpaper is dead and buried, nobody else actively enjoys these twee marketing gimmicks any more. The only white people at the gig where the ones who were being plied with free alcohol and food to turn up, by the way. And I mean that completely, because for all of the advertised swagger, Peter Jones was nowhere to be found. Vanessa Feltz was apparently around as well, but she must have been held up in the VIP’s VIP.
The punchline to all of this? Turns out the reason I was invited wasn’t because of the triumphant IchLugeBullets fanbase. It was because they thought I was still writing for DrownedInSound. Sean Adams, unknowingly, put food on my plate yesterday. And all I had to do to earn it was bullshit my way through a ten-minute interview with Levi himself, who was dressed in a billowing white robe with silver trim that made him look like a colour negative of a member of Aphrodite’s Child. I have no intention of ever transcribing those notes, but he came across as a sound bro.
The gig itself? Dunno, didn’t stick around for it. Reggae music is shit.
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