I don’t want this to sound like some kind of a sob story, but when I was young my parents had very little money. Don’t get me wrong, they did their absolute best and we never went without, but it meant my mother made me my school uniform (elasticated trousers , anyone) and whereas my other friends got fashionable clothes and haircuts and trainers and toys, my dad made stuff for us. One of his greatest successes was my bike. (actually he worked in a garage and built himself a car out of spare parts during his dinner hours at a cost of virtually nothing, but lets ignore that for the purposes of this) I had got into cycling a bit and my friends had these multi-gear lightweight racing bikes that just oozed coolness (to me) and I really thought I needed to have one.
Come Christmas day and my Dad wheeled in possibly the coolest bike I have ever seen. Spray painted maroon and white (turns out he had it done by the body shop lads at work) it looked fantastic, had everything that a (approximately) 13-year-old boy would need – gears, racing saddle, drop-down handlebars, everything. Then I took it out for a spin and……it turned out it weighed about 2 stone more than I did, and I use to have to walk it up even slight inclines. But I rode/walked it into the ground, and that was mainly because my Dad had taken something ordinary and transformed it into something extraordinary.
Someone else I discovered could do that when I was slightly older was Frankie Knuckles. I would crate-dig (check me – the record collector out) through the racks in my local record stores and you knew that anything that carried that name, never mind what the original was, would be stamped with quality.
We’ve all heard of Hurts, right? London-based electronic duo Adam Anderson and Theo Hutchcraft, make epic sounding synth-pop that resonates all over the music world – their debut record sold trillions (disclaimer: that might not technically be true) and was top ten all over Europe and beyond.
The second single from their new album (called Exile) is ‘Blind’ and features typically brilliant pop, with a slightly downcast Hutchcraft detailing a break-up of (presumably) the romantic kind. Frankie Knuckles has worked his magic, transforming the track into a house (and I sort of don’t like this overused word) classic. It’s got that retro house feel that is the trademark of Mr Knuckles, and its literally been stripped down and kicked over the dancefloor. Now, my Dad was pretty good at transformations and that, but even he couldn’t compete with Frankie Knuckles.