Tuesday, September 21, 2004

There was a wee ILM discussion last week on the provenance of the terms 'jungle' and 'drum'n'bass' , and on what the difference between the two actually was. An opportune moment (except I was too busy with grim stuff) for me to pitch in and make the public confession of getting me facts wrong. Well, it's all MC Navigator's fault. In 1994 he told me that "junglist" came from Concrete Jungle, the nickname of a grim housing project in Kingston, Jamaica, called Tivoli Gardens. The gangs from Tivoli, called "junglists", would be namechecked and shouted-out to on yard tapes; these would get exported to the UK and then get sampled on ragga-tekno/hardcore tracks, and.... So said Navigator, confidently. So that's the information I've always parlayed, in pieces, in Energy Flash and elsewhere. Including at some academic event a few years ago, during which an eldery Caribbean-looking professor type actually stepped up in the middle of my talk and slipped me a note while I was still pontificating, somewhat to my consternation.

Afterwards I went over and he explained, not unkindly, that the rude boys from Tivoli were called "gardenists"!! Doesn't quite have the same ring to it does it? Can you imagine, "ruff in da garden, ruff in da garden", "calling all gardenist cru, big up ya chess, and don't forget the secateurs". The prof also told me the name of the housing project that was nicknamed Concrete Jungle, and whose denizens were known as junglists. Unfortunately (slaps forehead repeatedly) I've completely forgotten what it was called. Can anyone help me here?! Maplestone? It's quite famous, and possibly the inspiration for the Wailers' "Concrete Jungle".

(The gardenists, if I've got it correct, were supporters of Seaga, who was conservative, pro-Reagan/foreign capital, stooge of America. And the junglists were supporters of Manley--socialist, anti-Western, friendly with Cuba, user of Rasta type Jah-shall-smite-the-unrighteous type imagery in his speeches, undermined by the CIA. So at least the political resonances of gardenist versus junglist are totally congruent with jungle the music.)

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