We are surrounded by the revival of UK garage. Young 'uns all over are repurposing the trademark shuffle in clubs and other places they go out to, or stay in at. The old faces have returned to play in new venues, or the old venues with new names. But it's different this time. It's either part of the house scene or mixed in with bass culture. The first time around it was its own world. It was a means to an end for a specific set of people: folks wanting a club that didn't get shut down by police. Folks who were bored with drum'n'bass. Then folks who wanted it more like drum'n'bass. And then folks who got the clubs shut down by police.
"Speed garage" was first coined by the American DJ Todd Terry who, at the Gas Club, heard our clattery paced-up version of a US vocal sound. I thought it was supposed to be a sexy version of house, and a sweaty version of R&B, but it was more complicated than that. My experience of garage was that – apart from ganja, of which there was loads – it wasn't really a drug scene in the way house was. It was first called "the Sunday scene" because people said they couldn't get licences on Saturdays. But I later learned it also had its roots in people wanting to do something after Saturday night at Ministry. Those early pioneers must have been on something to make it to Monday.
Anyway, fast forward to Twice As Nice, the evolution from the Gas Club, which had clearly shed the caning culture and was developing a taste for champagne and the finer things in rave. This was a good thing. Middle-class grime journalists always talked about how champagne-lifestyle lyrics were silly and unrealistic, but this is exactly why the crowds were there. Who wants to dance along to the struggle and the shit on a weekend? The first lot of people who got into garage were there to escape all the arguments over money and looking at people the wrong way. Just dancing and drawing girls.