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Our Crack Tongue & Groove

happyhardcore.jpg We still know the score

Happy Hardcore: the underground sound that was all over the summer (according to Robert Meddes).

The summer heatwave we’ve had this year has had all sorts of knock-on effects. Grown men wearing shorts in city centres has become the norm (rather than the obscenity which it is), and economists claim that the national GDP has been given a boost due to idiots falling over themselves to buy equipment that will enable them to cook sausages, for reasons fathomable only to themselves, in their back gardens. But an unexpected consequence of the hot weather has been the confirmation that a lot of people are still listening to happy hardcore. This has been very evident over the last couple of months as that particular musical genre only ever seems to be heard emanating from cars and, due to the excessive heat of late, most drivers have had their windows fully wound down thus giving pedestrians the pleasure of their full sonic oeuvre. Now – for reasons that I won’t go in to here – I once found myself trying to explain what happy hardcore is to my granny (there was a wedding; there was a free bar), but, after getting bogged down in the origins of house music and what constituted “a rave”, I give up the ghost concluding that it would have been easier explaining the concept of Twitter to a cat. What I should have said was to try and imagine a panic attack set to music. And when I say “music” I mean the sound an oompah band makes when they’re force-fed amphetamines and then told that they will all be slaughtered unless they can attract the attention of a passing helicopter by use of kazoo only. Add to that an aural backdrop of cheap fireworks, broken dentist drills and the devil sounding his tea-break-is-now-over-get-back-into-your-fiery-pits klaxon, and you’ve more or less got it. But I admire the commitment of fans who seem, to a man (and it’s usually men), to all drive around in souped-up Renault Clios while gnawing on something from Greggs. They’ve alighted upon a genre that is unquestionably theirs and which has remained more or less the same for 20 years. Happy hardcore is like a shark (or the alien out of Alien), the perfect organism which has reached the apex of its evolutionary scale; and, for those who enjoy a glorious racket which still retains its power to confuse and annoy, it cannot be improved upon - the perfect killing machine. Punk lasted for two or three years tops, but I get the feeling that in the decades, and indeed centuries to come, hot summers will still be sound-tracked by the likes of DJ Mongoose playing Rip Shit Up (Off Yer Fuckin’ Nut Mix). It’s a comforting thought.