‘Fresh for ’88’ by Courttia Newland

I have to have a Newland story in here, but I confess I know Courttia quite well and have even had dinner with him on more than one occasion. My excuse for this one not being a buddy-entry is that I read it before I ever met Courttia. Back in 2014 I used to do a radio show on NTS, a local Hackney broadcaster that is now the biggest online radio station in Europe (potentially the world). I did the breakfast show on a Friday morning 9-12pm. It was immense fun. Sometimes I would invite writers on to read stories and talk about their work in between playing banging tunes to start your weekend. Courttia was one of those guests and we had a total blast. I had invited him based on this story, ‘Fresh for ’88’, because I loved it so much I wanted to hear him read it out loud. It’s a simple tale of two young friends entering a rap battle contest in the late 80s with a wonderful little twist at the end (I won’t spoil it for you). The beauty is in the dialogue, the sense of wonderment in the characters and that feeling that youth will go on forever. Newland captures a forgotten element of London’s cultural history so well.

From A Book Of Blues, Flambard Press 2011

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