17. Ratpack – Searchin’ For My Rizla

I am the magnificent! The most prettiest! The baddest Mexicano of all times!

A crackly Dave Barker successfully shouts down the echoing authority of The Bouncer, protesting Ratpack’s right to enter any nightclub they choose, guestlist spot or no. Pushing into the queue, MC Everson Allen rudely interrupts Barker’s ancient bragging for some of his own. “Now I
” Translation: Push off grandad!

For a band who claim not to imitate then Ratpack are doing pretty well at it here: not just the opening speech and lilting momentum of ‘Double Barrel’, but the tune from Suzanne Vega’s ‘Tom’s Diner’ and several other familiar rave ingredients all bundled together in a big rave pie. A tasty and illicit pie at that – if you discount the easily mis-interpreted (ha) ‘Ebeneezer Goode’ then this song contains the first explicit drug reference in Rave ’92.

I might not have known what a Rizla was or why it might be difficult to find, but I definitely knew what having some Marijuana meant – that you were a dreadful human being who would never get into heaven*. My attitudes to ‘being naughty’ at the time were somewhat skewed by my (voluntary!) attendance of a evangelical Christian group for young girls. After being told one Sunday that even certain types of music could be sinful, I took it upon myself to rifle through my small tape collection, weed out anything that might diminish my chances of a halo and hide it in a shoebox at the bottom of the cupboard. I ended up re-recording all my compilations using my double tape deck, pausing the copy tape when the offending songs came on. My pre-teen methodology for this sonic cleansing was baffling to say the least. The Wonder Stuff, The B52’s and The Prodigy were IN; Ratpack, Carter USM and The Milltown Brothers** were OUT. Roxette were something of a grey area – Marie was wearing a rather revealing top on the cover of Joyride, but surely a song called ‘Church Of Your Heart’ must be Christian enough to count?

Luckily the Shoebox of Sin stayed right where it was, buried underneath a NafNaf jumper and some pink shellsuit bottoms which formed a protective barrier against evil. And when I realised a few months later that Jesus would probably love me just as much if I didn’t actively believe in him, right back out it came. Ratpack & co were still there in all their originating glory, ready to carry me off into the depraved world of er, smoking roll-ups. Hurray! I even saved up enough Rizla packets at college
to send off for a free mug with ‘GUZZLA’ written on the side. Although I no longer smoke it is still my favourite mug and definitely makes the tea taste better. Please don’t tell my mum.

See the very mug in action in this awesome video I made for ‘Searching For My Rizla’ below:

*And would possibly be doomed to spend eternity hanging around in Camden Market.
**Yeah, me neither. Possibly because I thought it had something to do with poisoning people like in Snow White?