Decadia Bentley: Ten Years Late At The Tate

Remember a few weeks ago when I was going on about the Dexter Bentley Hello GoodBye Show on Resonance FM auctioning off their airtime at the rate of £10 per minute, with all proceeds going to help keep the station on air? Of course you do, we’re great friends, you and I. But in case you missed this very fine show, it’s now available for podcast here. There’s plenty to get your ear-teeth into, including offerings from Dexter Bentley stalwarts Sergeant Buzfuz, Little Sparta, Chips For The Poor, and a highly arousing Joy Division cover by Datasette. And, most pertinently for our own concerns, there’s an exclusive three-minute radio advert ‘How To Sell 50 Orange Cassettes Without Being Really Trying’ by Guy J. Jackson & Robin The Fog. A veritable feast for the ears.

But wait, there’s more! This week just happens to be something of a milestone, as The Hello GoodBye Show celebrates nothing less than a decade of broadcasting on Resonance 104.4 FM with a FREE event at Tate Britain on Friday 13th April between 18.00 – 21.30 hrs. Expect a lively night of music, performance and dance (yes, dance, that’s what it says here) featuring live sets from Way Through, The Skinjobs and the aformentioned Sergeant Buzfuz’s Holloway Tales. I shall most certainly be joining them and hope you will too.

But there’s still more! The anniversary party spills over into the following morning, with a live broadcast between 11.00 – 13.30 hrs from Home Front Gallery in Herne Hill, South London for the opening of the artist James Alec Hardy’s Decadia Broadcast System exhibition, an archive of video footage shot behind the scenes at Hello GoodBye over the years and shown as a temporal monument, in the form of a totemic street sound system.

That's me, bottom right in the green shirt. Either that or I'd lent it to someone that day...

As I’ve mentioned before, I spent five happy years as a sound engineer serving this Resonance institution, and genuinely count those Saturday afternoons squeezed into a small studio amongst mounds of instruments, amplifiers, musicians, small children, strategically-positioned buckets and the occasional spaniel as some of the happiest times of my life. Each week I was amazed anew at the variety and quality of artists they managed to add to the pile; and at how the show always somehow managed to go out on time, despite our soundchecking six bands right up to the very last minute while trying to fix the fusebox.

The fact that Hello GoodBye continues in its tenth year to discover and promote such a wealth of new talent, all on a minuscule budget is a testament to boundless energy and enthusiasm of the programme’s central nucleus (and in particular  the tireless Richard Bentley, a true champion of independent music). When not working on the show or organising the next of their long-running series of live events, Dexter Bentley is also a band, with Richard at the helm. Frankly I don’t know where he gets his energy from. Here’s one of my favourites:

On a slightly different note, a key moment for me during my time with the show occurred sometime in 2006, when a certain trouble-maker named Spinmaster Plantpot appeared as a guest on Hello GoodBye via telephone to perform his unique brand of a-capella noise poetry. Listening to his torrent of accelerated gibberish and having enjoyed an awful lot of Atari Teenage Riot over the years, it didn’t take long to decide that a remix was in order, grab a recording of the performance, and set to work throwing lots of noisy jungle breaks and gabba kickdrums all over it. The resulting track ‘Hello Spinmaster'(also featuring presenters Richard and Simon’s voices in the opening seconds) was played on the following week’s show and received such positive feedback that I decided to press it up on vinyl and have a shot at the Christmas number 1 (you think I’m joking? I timed it especially). Perhaps unsurprisingly, it failed to hit the top spot, but did garner some nice reviews, including ‘treading the fine line between shite and genius’ and ‘A super-dumb, scum-rave anthem’, which remain two of the nicest compliments I’ve ever been paid. As this week is a special anniversary I’ve dusted off a copy, and here it is once more. As you can hear, I was a very angry young man in 2006:

Sadly Spinmaster Plantpot lost interest in the project and rather dropped off the radar soon after the single’s release. The last time I saw him, he was appearing in an ITV documentary that pertained to be an insight into the trials and tribulations of ‘short and angry’ men.  He was even quizzed by GMTV’s Lorraine Kelly on the subject, for which he deserves our sympathy, although had things worked out differently, I’m sure we could have worked in some sort of breakfast television promotional opportunity. As it is, the fact that we never did make an album together is one of my biggest regrets, though of course there are advantages in boiling an entire working relationship down to the three tracks of an EP. It’s very difficult to bore your audience in just under seven minutes…

Anyway, I’m drifiting. See you on Friday. And again on Saturday. And together we will raise a glass and wish them many more years of happy broadcasting. Dexter Bentley – we salute you!

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