Johnny Cush can be heard broadcasting his ‘Don’t Worry about The Words’ show on Generation Radio from Brixton Hill every Saturday between midday & 2pm.
We caught up with the local DJ to find out how he came to be broadcasting to Brixton and where his favourite haunts are…
I arrived in Brixton on 1 May 2001. Originally from Belfast, I grew up there and in the North West of England, spending my late teens and 20s in Glasgow, where I studied. I still remember the excitement and anticipation I felt when I arrived in Loughborough Junction. It was all about simple pleasures back then like jumping on the back of a routemaster 159, fulfilling an ambition I’d had since watching Grange Hill in the late ‘70s. London and Brixton are as different for people from the UK as they are to those that are not. To that extent, we’re all strangers and maybe that’s the reason that I’ve felt more at home here than anywhere else.
Your favourite Brixton gig:
Got to be New Order at the Academy in 2001. I had managed to get a VIP guest pass for the aftershow party from a friend but although the gig was great, I was slightly disappointed when I arrived at the aftershow party to find a few hundred other “VIPs” also in attendance. A bit like the “VIP” room of Fabric, if you’ve ever been in there, which is in fact another club within a club. There I was, looking forward to shooting the breeze with Bernard and Hooky over a few beers and, of course, they weren’t anywhere near the place.
What is the biggest/best night you’ve had in Brixton:
Far too many too mention, of course. We lived just a few doors up from the sadly missed Paulet Arms. Linda and Stan who ran the place were very good to us in terms of after- hours access to their legendary lock- ins and myself and friends did get the chance to play our reggae 45s on their excellent sound system a few nights which was great. Bar Lorca (now Jamm) was also very handy for us and, again, as we got to know the manager, became something of a little social club for us. We also used to go to the Satay Bar, which I’ve always liked, as well as both the Fridge Club and Fridge Bar.
Your favourite Brixton musician, band or song:
Got to be Girlie and Laurel Aitken’s “Blues Dance” from 1969 on Nu Beat, the B side of “Hailie Selassie”, which is also a stormer. Laurel Aitken was of course a Brixton legend who released the classic “Scandal in Brixton Market” LP in the same year, featuring many songs with Girlie. I believe the enigmatic “Girlie” was from Brixton, but I understand has since sadly passed. Would love to hear more of her story if any readers are aware?
“Blues Dance” is a typically driving and infectious Aitken bassline, underneath the story of him asking Girlie for a dance and her relentlessly cutting responses. The one liners in it are all top notch and the caustic patois never fails to raise a smile.
Your favourite place to eat in Brixton:
Negril on Brixton Hill, every time. So much so, that my friends and family don’t even bother asking me where I fancy anymore if we’re eating out. Negril stands out from so many other places in London, where form seems to triumph over substance, because it does the basics so well. High quality, reasonably priced Jamaican food, served with a smile in a relaxed, pleasant, no frills venue. It’s also bring your own booze, so you can enjoy exactly what you want, to wash it all down with.
Your favourite place to drink in Brixton:
One of my friends once commented that I always give directions using pubs as reference points, so I think I’ve been in most of them over the years. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Satay Bar, as it’s one of the first places I went when I arrived, but for day to day thirst quenching it would be the Prince Albert for “downtown” Brixton or, closer to home, my local on New Park Road the Hand in Hand. Also worthy of a mention are SW9 and the Trinity Arms. The Beehive can be interesting and I hear good things about Mango Landin’.
We’re working on getting an AM licence for Generation Radio so hopefully all the hard work will eventually pay off and we will achieve this in 2012. Personally, I’m looking at further developing my show and getting some guests in the studio. There’s a tonne of great re-edit stuff around at the minute on Soundcloud and I’m in the process of playing around with some myself. Expect to hear some “Don’t Worry About The Words” remixes of old standards in due course, when I get more time to play with my Ableton. A regular local gig wouldn’t go amiss either!
Your listening suggestions for Brixton:
I have to say Generation Radio of course. Vibes 93.8 FM has been an ever present soundtrack to my time in Brixton and they have one of the most impressive transmitters I’ve ever come across. You can pick them up all the way to the A23/ M25 junction! Great to see that Brixton Jamm has made a success of a venue and location where others have failed- their line- ups are always worth checking. I’ve always thought that Brixton is crying out for a genuinely mixed venue playing eclectic dance music from across all the various local communities and I look forward to seeing this. It’s what I try to do on my show and I’m sure it can work in the real world!