Patrick Widdess reports on Mr Scruff - The Junction, Cambridge 9 May 2009

Mr Scruff
Junction 2, The


After two years in the studio Mr Scruff has emerged triumphant with last year's Ninja Tuna album offering a smooth blend of jazz, hip-hop and funky loops. He hit Cambridge on Saturday bringing a night of hip hop, latin, reggae, soul, afrobeat , house, jazz, dubstep, disco, funk and... tea. Mr Scruff is not just a DJ but a visionary not content to just turn up in a club and play a quick set. His distinctive brand shapes the whole night and the club is transformed into a magical world inhabited by wonky fish and wacky creatures with scrumptious pies and pasties and exotic herbal tea.

Mr Scruff was on the decks for the entire night mixing up the tunes whilst his instantly recognisable doodles spun, bounced, marched and boogied across two screens. Energy levels remained high on the dance floor as he juggled tracks skipping seamlessly between genres always lively and upbeat. A roll-call of Cambridge neighbourhoods on the screens brought a cheer. ‘Today's menu' introduced a parade of pies and pasties with fillings such as spam and tissue and beef and sellotape. The tea stall had more palatable refreshments. In an unlikely sideline venture Mr Scruff runs a tea company. Fresh fruit and cookies and herbal tea were for sale. Blends included forest fruits, English breakfast and mint and chilli. Forest fruits offered a bouquet of aromas and plenty of fruity flavour. Mint and chilli is a bizarre but effective combination with mint soothing your tastebuds and the chilli following with an invigorating kick.

The cartoon visuals, infectiously funky soundtrack and healthy snacks combine in a refreshing take on the clubbing experience. Mr Scruff's concept is dazzling in its ingenuity and originality. The Junction the other hand is just a big room with a sound system. It's functional but does not do the event justice. The place is clammy and dark as a Goth nightclub. Ideally the venue should be a marquee in a grassy field with the sun setting on a hot summer's day and there should be a chill-out area with big cushions and joss sticks burning where you can sit back and sip your herbal tea before hitting the dance floor to jump, jive and boogie yourself silly. Such conditions are, of course, hard to come by and clubbing in Cambridge doesn't get much better than this.


Writer: Patrick Widdess

Photo: Patrick Widdess