In Haunt

By Debbie Ellis (A Supreme Shot) David Scott takes lived experience of Manchester and its bustling boroughs – in all its layers of history, hardship and creative hope – and puts it into hard-hitting words. This Longsight-born wordsmith has already made an impression through powerful performances of his writing and as frontman of an alternative hip-hop band – both under the name ARGH KiD. Now he is taking to the airwaves – in the broadcaster's chair – as a presenter on BBC Radio Manchester.

The Dead Good Show’ is where David will be in-conversation with a range of local talents, as well as playing a selection of music, all curated with Manchester in mind. This provides a valuable platform for current creativity, as well as revealing fascinating stories and hidden histories. On the air so far, he has interviewed the likes of actor Steve Evets, and the musicians who make up the bands No Hot Ashes and Larkins; all upholding the importance of conveying an authentic experience of Manchester, its high-points as well as hardships, within their artistry. Many more interviews are already lined-up, and an innovative angle for each.

David himself is no stranger to encountering diversity and urban depth within his own creative work. The lyricist and MC at the heart of the ARGH KiD band, through blistering alternative hip hop he delves into themes of city decay, the impact of austerity and the spirit of the city’s diverse communities. This is positive yet honest artistry, not shying away from the grit, with his first two singles Frank and Neighbours bringing together the lyrics of lived experience with bold beats. That it has been met with great acclaim, is perhaps little wonder. He has recorded much of his work at the legendary Blueprint Studios, hidden away on an industrial estate in Salford –with more to come. 

Through his music and wider creativity, David is a recognised champion of independent venues and organisations, having been involved with the likes of the Greater Manchester Fringe, MancMade festival, SPEAK (one of our featured spoken word nights) at Jimmy’s and even more in recent years.  Exciting, engaging creativity matters to David – and he’s keen to convey the accessibility of poetry and writing to all through school and community workshops he continues to be part of, as well as in his role as Official Poet for the NSPCC, UEFA and Manchester United.

Sport is after all another key passion of David’s, a feature he will maintain as a BBC Radio Manchester Presenter – also known for his sport commentary and insight on the likes of ITV, BBC, BT Sport and beyond. With his eye on the ball and ear on the beats, plenty of excitement is expected from David’s broadcasting role. Here at Haunt Manchester, we spoke to the man himself to find out more….

Hello David. Congratulations on the show. What do you think you will bring to the airwaves that is different?

 

“Thank you! I want my show to offer two sides of Manchester. My biggest love of Us (people here in Manchester) is how self-deprecating we are, our ability to laugh at ourselves is second-to-none. So expect tongue-in-cheek pokes at our idiosyncrasies, but we also have differing opinions - so we’re tackling a lot of big topics from Mental Health to Mixed Religion Relationships… a yin and yang show with great tunes between the chat.

“I want to give a quick shout-out and thanks to my Producer Pav and the whole BBC Radio Manc family who are just that - a family; welcoming, supportive and brilliant to work with, I’m really loving being part of it.”

You are a known champion of grassroots and alternative creativity here in Manchester – how do you plan to express this on the show?

“I’d like to give diverse creatives exposure; with our well-known guests I'll be gauging them for advice as to how you 'make it' in a field as unforgiving as the creative industry. Guests have been really open about their experiences (see Steve Evets interview)- I'm looking forward to more of that with some really exciting names lined up. Line of Duty’s Craig Parkinson is coming in on 24th October.”

 Manchester, as many cities do, has its particular cultural myths and nostalgic tendencies. What do you think of this – and does it affect you, both as an artist and in celebrating the creativity of others on the contemporary scene?

“It's brilliant what we've achieved but it shouldn't anchor us to the past. As an artist I force myself not to be nostalgic in what I, or others, have done - it’s dangerous to stare in your rear-view. Listen… audiences need to venture beyond their comfort zone but equally, perhaps more importantly, artists need to take risks and make such a noise people can't not turn up. Any celebrated artist worth their salt didn't find success by following suit, they rebelled against it. I’m here for that.”

Can you tell us more about your current creative work – in terms of music and writing?

“At the moment my creative work has taken an 180 degree turn; in that I’m focussing the pen on myself rather than documenting what I see. It’s quite a cathartic experience but I’m conscious that it could become self-indulgent if not done with restraint. This has been a huge year for me in terms of productivity and learning; I’m taking all that into 2020 with some fantastic projects on the horizon.”

By Sal Thompson

In your music, you encounter content such as austerity Britain and social tensions. Why do you think it is important to explore subjects such as these in popular culture, and what can be gained from this?

“There are social issues in my work but that's because I live in a world that has a lot of social issues - it isn't always the intention to highlight these when I start writing (I wonder if it's a subconscious thing). I don't know how it'd come out if I said ‘today I will write a piece on climate change because that's trending’. I point my pen at things I find interesting - I do it from a selfish place not because I want to stand on a soapbox. This where I struggle with the label ‘Working Class Artist’; it seems a tag to culturally homogenise the working class as all angry upstarts screaming about social injustices - it detracts from the nuances in the work. How often have you heard the term ‘Middle Class Writers’ as a genre…?  I’m a writer, that proudly comes from a working class background. I love the work of people like Sillitoe, Delaney, Welsh, Meadows et al. mainly because they create incredible characters in a world that is littered with social problems. This is England is a brilliant bildungsroman as much as it is a social commentary on '80s racial tension, it’s just that they co-exist in the world the story is told in. (Did I just I get on my soapbox to talk about not being on a soapbox???)”

Do you think engaging with a city is just as much about encountering and understanding its complexities as well as mentioning its successes?

“You know when you did something good at school and your mum would put the star, the picture, the certificate, on the fridge door to show how proud she is of you? That’s what I think walking the streets of Manchester is like. You can’t escape the successes because the city will never let you…to know that these wins came from so many different cultural backgrounds is to realise our city's greatest success: its people.”

You have turned your passion for words and writing to many cultural forms; performance, lyrics, broadcasting. What would you say to people who want to get creative and express themselves, but aren’t sure where to start?

“You create for yourself and not for others. If the fear of what other people think is stopping you then, and I know from experience, those preconceptions tend to be way off the mark. Pick up the pen, instrument, brush whatever and get cracking it could be the best thing that you ever do…”

By Emily Oldfield 

Photography: Image 1 (also featured image) - by Debbie Ellis (Asupremeshot) and Image 2 - by Sal Thompson (Gig Junkie)

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