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Streets writing man
With his first two albums, Streets mastermind Mike Skinner established himself as one of the most eloquent, idiosyncratic and gifted vocalists and worsdsmiths of his generation. But the 27 year old came close to blowing it all on spread-betting and crack, not to mention engaging in an XXX-rated tryst with an unnamed pop starlet. Thankfully, he’s bounced back with the tell-all confessional of The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living.
Stuart Clark, 03 Apr 2006
And to think that MI5 turned down my job application! It’s 3pm on a wet West London Tuesday and I’m proceeding down an anonymous residential street to what my handler has described as a “dilapidated shed.” Once located, I’m to knock discreetly on the paint-chipped door, identify myself to the intermediary who opens it and, security all-clear given, head inside for a face to face with one of the UK’s Most Wanted.
I’m convinced that some fucker’s winding me up, but sure enough, there between two semi-Ds is something that looks like it’s been built by the less architecturally proficient of the Three Little Pigs. Never mind huffing and puffing, an asthmatic wheeze would bring this house down.
Sticking to my covert task, I wait for the man who’s pruning next door’s rhododendrons to leave, give a furtive rat-a-tat-tat and find myself greeted by a PR girl who ruins everything by loudly informing me – and anyone else within a 50 metre radius – that, “Mike’ll be ready in a few minutes.”
Yup, the supposedly secret lair belongs to young Michael Skinner, recording artiste and MD of the burgeoning Beats empire. Like Dr. Who’s Tardis, it’s bigger inside than it is outside and packed to bursting with the digital gear he used to record the new Streets album, The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living.
It’s an apt title given the 27-year-old’s self-confessed forays into serious gambling and crack smoking. The former reached its nadir when he blew the whole of The Streets’ U.S. tour budget on a spread-bet, while the latter provides the pharmaceutical accompaniment to a late night shagfest with a top 10 songstress who had to get up early the next morning to appear on CD:UK. The gack-loving sex vixen in question mightn’t be too impressed with her cameo in The Hardest Part…’s lead single, ‘When You Wasn’t Famous.’
“Whenever I see you on MTV, I can’t stop my big wide smile/And past the ‘children’s appeal’, I see the darkness behind/We both know the scratches on my back much better than the alludes and lies/I miss the bitchin’ and shoutin’, but I’m glad I got out in time,” raps Skinner before his manager interjects with a cautionary, “You can’t keep fucking pop stars, we’ve got a fucking business to run/There are industry repercussions, Michael!”