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Sunday, 9 July 2006

london state of life

“Streets is talking ” ……about London State of Mind

theres a new film about to break the mould of uk film....
What is FIP? spoke to Pablo, Diablo & Soldier from the forthcoming London State Of Mind

If you were to walk into uptown records and look at the rack displaying UK Mix tapes it seems like the scene is healthy and well, but what will be the look for the near future? It looks like the music is getting more musical. As summer looms you can bet on loads of ladies tunes being dropped to reflect the summer vibe, hopefully this will get our club scene back.

Leaving music aside, the black British film industry seem to be blossoming. Since Bulletboy, the rest of the film world has been waiting on another black film release. From the talk on the streets it seems that everyone was locked to Dubplate Drama, a classic example of what the scene could be. Then this year there was a mini explosion! Kidulthood, Rolling With The Nines, and forthcoming London state of mind (LSOM) and A Goats Tail are part of the new wave of British media.

When you listen to the soundtracks its quite obvious that street music makes up a significant part of these films, but will the associations between crime and black music tarnish the young film industry? London state of mind takes issues of the street and music and goes even deeper on the subject, taking you deeper into the “hood” than rolling with the nines (go see it if you have not already).

Pablo, the main character, is a hood star that has just ‘landed road’ and is trying to go straight and break away from the streets. However, he has direct ties to the roads, this could be his fatal flaw. He is directly involved with Diablo and Bush, the former being bad and the later is being badder. Diablo is the epitome of the roads; he represents the elements of the scene that are more road than rhythm, more street than sound and behind bars, not spitting bars. Bush is Diablo’s elder, you could compare him to Debo from Friday, he is a straight bastard and proud of it. Neither Diablo nor Bush are trying to come off road or use the road as means to a better ends.

After talking to their alter egos, I found out more about the real life characters that make them film what it is. Unsurprisingly all the main actors have strong opinion on the state of affairs in the scene and on the roads. However, more surprisingly they all have a music careers and are not professional actors but have had acting roles in TV and film. Soldier who plays a misguided youth from a broken home is Rowdy MIC, and has starred in Dubpate Dramas along side Shystie.

The film is graphic and the ideal is to create a deterrent to crime, but is this a double-edged sword? Soldier felt that either way bad press was bound to surface, so by being real and addressing issues the film does more good than bad. Soldier also believes LSOM is on a par with Bulletboy, if not better. He had no apologies for the ‘rawness’ of the film, saying it was needed to represent the ‘realness’ of the roads and to be a deterrent to crime. This was a view also shared by Diablo.

Diablo, also known as Blase shared views on a youth culture out of control, but these words seem to echo what every passing generation says about their Youngers. I personally don’t know for sure if the younger generation is really as bad as Kidulthood sets out, but the press would have us believe so. According to Diablo, things will get a lot worse before they get better unless the authorities stand up and take note of what is happening and unless our communities become stronger and wiser especially in the years from latter primary school to adulthood (kidulthood?).

Pablo flipped the script and talked about the influence of the road on music and music on the road. He admits that both are integral to each other. He explained that his character in the film has no regrets for having a road mentality as it gives him the material he needs to be an artist. It also gives him a perspective that he can pass on to others. "The real life" Pablo thinks the UK is too accessible; there are no hood stars yet in the respect that the UK scene has not reached its full potential. The other side of his argument was that the roads can turn the means to a good end. However street ties always catch up with you; it’s inevitable. I quizzed him on the other parts of the UK scene and he gave me a run down of the best films from the scene so far, in this order: Bullet boy was the classic coming joint top with rolling with the nine, then kidulthood, obviously London state of mind came top of the pile. Kidulthood gave one view of our youth culture, but Pablo felt it was exaggerated, London state of mind delved deeper into the issue and showed us about gun culture. Bulletboy showed how situations can get out of control and how it’s hard to land road and stay straight, an issue looked at deeper by London state of mind.

The story behind the film shows what like-minded people can do if they put heads together. The whole project is a Brainchild of Dice Recordings and was handled by the film production arm of their operations. The whole project was not government funded, but came from the community and has a strong Community focus – the main message behind that is that you can do something without funding, so don’t sit around waiting, put your material out and get feedback.

The film tried to be as real as possible so there were not too many cameo roles unlike Dubplate Drama (new series coming), do watch out for Shystie and DJ “killah cam” Cameo. Keep checking the website for updates, any emerging film talent should holler at the company via the site or the myspace. Make sure you get the Soundtrack made especially for the film, but also with some classic road anthems

The CEO of the whole Dice project left me with a set of words that epitomise the movement that is being fostered, he said “The reality is that the reality of this film is what is real life for many people – we are not trying to hide the truth.

Written by What is FIP?

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