Eskimo Dance is coming to Croydon – we are now London’s coolest borough

By - Wednesday 24th August, 2016

On Saturday 29th October the most important event in grime’s cultural calendar – Eskimo Dance – is coming to Croydon

Photo by @EskimoDance, used with permission.

Eskimo Dance is coming to Croydon.

This news will delight those who have a particular appreciation for grime music, but should also be of interest to all Croydonians that wish to see Croydon’s diminished music scene and waning nightlife reversed: London’s coolest event in London’s coolest music genre is coming to London’s coolest borough.

The Birth of Grime

Grime emerged as an early-2000s East London sound pioneered by Richard “Wiley” Cowie, in reaction to South London’s late ’90s garage music dominance and inspired by Croydon’s own music invention dubstep. The grime sound was a dark, sparse, 140pm soundscape punctuated by gunshots, 808 claps, and gritty samples (examples include: Igloo, Pulse X, Gunman Skank, Straight) and originally traded under various names including “eski”, “sublow”, “dark garage”, until grime was eventually settled upon.

The uniform was Academiks tracksuits, Air Max 95s, NYC snapbacks and a facial expression that said “jog on or I will jack you”. MCs told stories of shanking antagonists, “shotting” class A drugs, and procuring sexual favours from crack-addicted prostitutes. Exhilarating stuff for young Londoners who – from the safety of their bedrooms – would never have to experience this life firsthand, older Londoners who had missed the NWA boat the first time around, as well as, wonderfully, evangelical Christians like these who saw it as a new missionfield to be redeemed.

The Sanitisation of Grime

Grime is ‘cool’ – and for something to be cool there has to be an element of danger associated with it. This is a genre whose most popular MCs are as much celebrated for their stab wounds as their discography (at last count, Wiley had been “bored up” seven times and his protege Dizzee Rascal has been stabbed six times) and whose producers try to drown girlfriends in canals when they won’t have an abortion.

The London’s coolest event in London’s coolest music genre is coming to London’s coolest borough

Fortunately, those halcyon days are over and grime has broken out of its traditional sphere of hopeless estates and young men with no prospects to become a global genre safely enjoyed by gurning Essex lads and Canadians.

Since 2008, the sound and ethos changed. Grime’s stars shed their 140bpm criminal backbone in favour of more chart-friendly fodder. Tinchy Stryder released ‘Take Me Back’, Ironik merged grime and R&B with ‘Stay With Me’ and Dizzee Rascal collaborated with Calvin Harris. When Wiley went to number 1 with ‘Heatwave’ in 2012, it felt like the final nail in the coffin for the original grime sound; a far cry from the genre’s origins of semi-literate teens waving shotguns and banning you from their ‘ends’.

However, it’s this new more sanitised grime that has birthed UK icons such as Croydon’s homegrown superstar Stormzy: the current face of Adidas Football who last week was used to announce the arrival of Pogba to Manchester United.

All of which means, now is the perfect time for Croydon to host Eskimo Dance.

Eskimo Dance is coming to Croydon

Bringing Eskimo Dance to Croydon in October is a genius move by Boxpark Croydon. It comes at just the right time where grime still has the social cachet to be cool but is now safe enough to be enjoyed and patronised by an affluent audience.

I’ll see you at the front of Eskimo Dance Croydon

In bringing the most important event in grime’s annual cultural canon to Croydon, the borough can rightly claim to be the coolest place in London right now. It also serves as an encouraging opening salvo that the new Boxpark development in Croydon won’t just be a 20,000 sq ft Mecca for gluttons, but also a respected spot for the best live music and events that the capital has to offer.

So, I’ll see you at the front of Eskimo Dance Croydon in my Croydon Vs The World t-shirt – asking the DJ to give ‘Bibles, Bibles’ a reload, safe in the knowledge that if it all gets too much I can withdraw to the safety of a nearby quinoa bar.

Eskimo Dance Croydon takes place at Boxpark Croydon on Saturday 29th October. Tickets are £15 and can be bought here.

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose is a committed Christian who has lived in the Croydon area for nearly twenty years. He is an active participant in his local community, serving at Grace Vineyard Church and organising Purley Breakfast Club, and was ranked "Croydon's 37th most powerful person" by the Croydon Advertiser (much to his amusement). He owns a lead generation company. He is the Head of Content at marketing technology company Idio, the founder of the Croydon Tech City movement, a LinkedIn coach, and creator of Croydon's first fashion label, Croydon Vs The World. Working on Instagram training and a Linkedin lead generation service. Views are his own, but it would be best for all concerned if you shared them. Please send your fanmail to: jonnyrose1 (at) gmail (dot) com

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