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One for the Road

Kanye West, Sensitive Soul
John Doran , June 24th, 2008 00:00

Quietus Editor John Doran gets drunk, falls over, destroys phone, makes noise like "broken panther" and has Proustian recall of two run ins with rap muppet Kanye West.

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It being my birthday last weekend I went out for a drink. The landlords of one of my favourite drinking establishments, The Mucky Pup in Islington, finally managed to pry my fingers off the bar at 5am on Sunday morning. After a dimly remembered cab ride home which featured much shouting about David Soul, it turned out the spare set of keys were not in their usual hiding place and fearing the three line whip of my sister, my brother in law and my girlfriend if I rang the bell I decided to go to sleep on the door step. I was rudely shaken awake two hours later by Paul who was on his way to work. I had my laptop pulled up to my chin like a particularly rubbish, plastic and silicon duvet and was making a noise "like a broken panther". While thrashing round in the grip of some particularly demented night terror, I'd managed to smash my phone in such a way that I deleted all of my text messages.

Along with the messages from my girlfriend and pals I'd lost a load of work related texts, the best of which was an mini epistle from my friend Simon Price, New Romantic and man of letters. It basically referred to a time when I'd gotten up Kanye West's nose so badly that he stopped his gig at the Hammersmith Apollo, two nights running, and got the crowd to boo me. As strange as it sounds the fact that an obscure music writer like myself managed to get under the skin of the world’s leading ’conscious’ rapper should tell you quite a lot about him. When reviewing the album Late Registration I gave the album a not particularly vicious three out of five for Playlouder and made what I thought was the fair observation that the self-styled college dropout chose to be mediocre as it helped his sales figures. I mean, why choose snippets from various rare records to make something entirely original when you can just add your own lyrics to a record that’s barely been altered. From Shirley Bassey to Curtis Mayfield, West’s choices were embarrassingly gauche - not that this seemed to matter to the lovers of Tesco or Walmart hip hop world wide, when his production work for other rappers such as Common was far better. So it was with no little surprise when Pricey, texted me with the following message: “You aren’t going to believe this. Kanye West has just stopped his show at Hammersmith Apollo and flashed up these words in ten foot tall lights: “Late Registration is mediocre” John Doran, playlouder. And now everyone’s booing you!” Of course my heart filled with joy. Hammersmith Apollo? Sold out two nights on the run? Over 16,000 people? That’s probably the most readers I’ve ever had for one sentence.

To upset Kanye West once may be regarded as good fortune, to do it twice is pretty much a red letter day...

......The full version of this article is available in Point Close All Quotes: A Quietus Music Anthology. Buy it now in the Amazon Kindle store.

Jun 24, 2008 5:30pm

John Doran has a Kanye West playlist on his iPod. He makes love to it. The music, not the iPod.

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Jun 24, 2008 7:10pm

Even by the megalomaniac standards of most hip-hop artists Kanye has always seemed a bit overly fond of himself.

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HM Govt
Jun 24, 2008 8:38pm

That was one of the better things I've read recently. Cheers.

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Jun 25, 2008 1:04am

Job well done - enjoyed reading that!

At the Hong Kong show last year, a young Chinese girl asked me "Where?" after Kanye had requested the audience to 'put your diamonds up'. Spat my whiskey out laughing. Waited 90 minutes for him to begin. Free tickets. Smuggled booze. Meh.

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Jun 24, 2008 11:04pm

Righteous reportage.

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the winer
Jun 25, 2008 1:32am

cabernet sauvignon blanc??

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Jun 25, 2008 5:09am

Nice article. Very entertaining.

John, you weren't drinking by yourself on your birthday were you?

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John Doran
Jun 25, 2008 7:48am

Elliot: Cheers. No, I'm not a particularly big fan of the solipsistic solo mission. I'm more of a gregarious quaffer to be honest. I can usually be found at the Mucky Pup on a Sunday as I run a weekly rock recovery session called The Olde Peculiar there and I'd been DJing there with my man Julian Marszalek from XFM.

The two landlords Angus and Kenny are friendly guys. Too friendly, says my doctor.

The Winer: I could have sworn that's what it was. It tasted like the sort of wine that's called: 'A Nice Bottle Of White Wine' and has a cartoon of a rotund, jolly French man with a string of onions round his neck drinking a large glass himself. It probably said something on the back like "Ideal for picnics" which translates as "Only suitable for tramps".

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Jun 25, 2008 3:14pm

A fabulous read, Sir.

Selected highlight...
"Then someone starts booing. It’s me. Then everyone starts booing. This is absolutely mint."

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Lord Humungus
Jun 25, 2008 4:57pm

brill. Also brill: photo of Dor-an, The Horn-ed Barbarian

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Jun 25, 2008 6:23pm

the hate is strong in you sir.. very strong.

though i cold-heartedly disagree with you, i must admit its a nice piece of text you get here.

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baby jebus
Jun 25, 2008 11:26pm

A great piece. Was that you shouting 'Turn It Up!' at MBV.?

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Jun 26, 2008 12:41am

i've just got to write a piece about what a cunt simon amstell is now...

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Nick S
Jun 26, 2008 6:14am

Best thing I've read since Danny Baker met Michael Jackson, very funy, KW is bland at best, his samples painfully obvious. Rap/Hip Hop, unless you count underground and left field has been in slow decline for years. Oh, and sponsorship was the worst thing ever to happen to music.

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Jun 26, 2008 11:42am

Ahahaha this article made me laugh - you're awesome John!

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Jun 27, 2008 9:52am

wonderful stuff john.

I wonder if the bus-stop boy gots his/your phone?

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Leyton Red
Jun 27, 2008 10:10am

Thank you for a laugh! Great stuff... the closing remarks about the branding strangle hold on our lives was fitting too.

Sony Ericcson, Vodafone and Kanye West telling each other they're great. What a waste of air

Kanye West - I'm not sure I've ever heard a song of his - which by the sound of it, is a good thing

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Hard House Blogger
Jun 27, 2008 10:32am

Any enjoyable read sir. I do wonder how much control Kanye West actually has over most of the over promotion himself... putting that aside though, a great read and I wish I could've been there to join in with the booing.

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Jul 10, 2008 5:57pm

Excellent to read this again... I was sent this the other week too:

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Jul 16, 2008 12:20pm

Love the story John. Very funny. I once went to the playback of Kanye's Late Registration at some poncey west end studio and ended up on the front row, sitting right in front of him. Five minutes in I had got so bored with his pomposity I flipped open my paper and spent the rest of the time picking out which bands to watch at Glasto, while chewing loudly on crisps and trying not to bring up the horribly warm white wine (do you think he's sponsored by Blue Nun?). Noticing my reaction he asked me what I thought was the best song. I said "the first one. I kinda got distracted after that". He left the stage soon after.

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Jul 23, 2008 12:18pm

"Kanye West meets the man who bought the frozen Han Solo"

made me chuckle out loud Mr Doran.
I must say, I went to watch one of Kayne's 'protegees' Lupe Fiasco, and it really was an incredible gig, with an utterly amazing band backing him.

ChrisError x

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Jan 4, 2011 8:21pm

how can you even say that about late registration? did you even listen to anything that wasn't a single? also lmao @ a white guy quietus writer berating someone for not "being ghetto".

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Mar 21, 2011 6:12am

Kanye West does suck. But I'm curious: do you think advertising that promotes The Quietus is evil and bad? How about the items, services, and bands you advertise?

It's really easy to rip on adverts when you that's basically what you do for a living ("I write about how disaffected and pure I am!") but for those of us who actually make products, getting our product advertised can mean the difference between having a job and standing in the unemployment line.

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Aug 18, 2011 10:37am

Wonderful piece. Telecom ex machina...

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