(!)Mothers with children please note: objectivity is suspended for the majority of the following rant.

"We're the masters of the ceremony, what does it take to be a garage MC?
Mediocrity, gullibility, and a complete lack of rhyming ... aptitude."

It had to happen really. First there was drum'n'bass (OK, first there was Jungle, and before that something else, etc.), and people saw that it was good. Then there was 'intelligent drum'n'bass', where Roni Size, 4Hero et al. fused the immediacy of drum'n'bass to the noodling of jazz. And by and large, it was good (if occasionally a bit wanky) and won lots of awards. But for every good thing there is an evil flipside, and in this case some geezers took all the worst, most crass and commercial elements of 'urban dance music' and forged them into (ominous thunder) UK Garage.

UK Garage (sometimes called Speed Garage or two-step*) really, really annoys me. Before I go on I should add the proviso that some UK Garage is, I am sure, good and original and deserving of commercial success. God knows there's enough of it out there, adorning the covers of the chin-strokier music mags month after month. It's just that the stuff that gets onto the airwaves is for want of a better word, complete and utter shite.

Because in its raw form it's quite monotonous stuff, chart-aiming UK Garage acts tend to fuse their shitty speeded up beats with another well-established musical genre. So we get Smashey and Nicey (I think he means DJ Luck and MC Neat or someone similar - fondue's subconscious) turning it into cheesy Eyebeefa disco-lite. We get So Solid Crew trying to mask their painfully obvious lack of any actual notoriety (and probable middle-class upbringing) by co-opting the posturing of gangsta rap. We get Craig David being well, Craig David. We get Do You Do You Like It, Is It Is It Wicked. Pass the sick bag.

I don't apologise that I've made any mistakes in lumping people into the wrong pidgeonhole here, in fact I hope I've got something wrong so that I can be assured I'm not becoming an expert in this crap. Basically, my plea is that it has to stop before we become an international embarrassment (not that it'll come to that of course, UK Garage is a craze that will run its course soon enough, like Ragga).

*Two-step because: step one is sample something crap (say, the theme to Casualty); step two is flog it on Top of The Pops as if artistic credibility was Krytonite.

Post Script: Hats off to Great Neb for his writeup below, which puts things into a much better context than my one-sided rant above. I still think Garage is shite, mind.