I don’t know when I first heard Freaky Deaky. It was probably some time in the mid nineties, long before house music had begun to devour its own past. I can’t imagine the younger me was a huge fan of it at first. It caresses the very edges of cheesiness with an abandon that would have offended the remarkably ridiculous musical morals I had back then before I started loosening up and enjoying stuff for what it was rather than what I thought it should aspire to be.
It wasn’t just this one tune that was affected by my younger daftness. I was very much a musical snob when it came to electronic music. And, like a lot of musical snobs, I overlooked all sorts of brilliant music in favour of complete bobbins because the bobbins ticked the correct boxes. I imagine the entire reason I ever bought this record in the first place was because it was on Warp, and came in one of their older, famous, sleeves. The fact is I had a terrible dislike of a lot of house for a long time; well, not that long a time, but when you’re younger the brain is easily fooled.
House music didn’t seem to have the drama of techno. It seemed like a lighter, less serious alternative. Looking back, I find this a weird state to have been in, partly because it was an attitude I tended to loathe when it came to other genres. I hated the dead-end puritanism of a lot of punk and hardcore; I disliked most forms of metal I heard because a lot of the fans just seemed to listen to it because of the odd kudos they seemed to feel it gave them. Latterly, I came to dislike the same attitude in techno – the very same attitude I displayed for so long. It took me a long time to realise that Detroit wasn’t the be all and end all of techno, and almost as long to figure out there was much more to house than the Relief, Dance Mania and acid stuff I was religious about.
It took a long time to start getting it, and that itself was a process which was more to do with growing up than with anything more artistically eye opening. To paraphrase Churchill, anyone under the age of 30 who isn’t a musical snob has no heart, but anyone over the age of 30 who is still a musical snob is probably a wee bit mental. Since then I’ve had arguments with classical music fans because I dispute their belief that all other music is inferior, and I’ve been slated by hardcore punk fanbois because I’d rather listen to The Jam, The Clash, or The Buzzcocks than some gurning nipple with a badly tuned guitar. Most importantly, I’m still head over heals in love with house regardless of the fact there are many things about the current scene I don’t quite enjoy.
How anyone could dislike Freaky Deaky is beyond me. I imagine, deep down I probably knew that, even though I convinced myself otherwise. No, it’s probably not the greatest tune ever written, and it still sounds a bit prone to tickling the fromage. But, you know what? As soon as that massive bass kicks in on top of the driving hammer-and-tongs percussion, none of that matters. It simply gives back what you give it. And if you come at it with smiles and a lack of preconceptions, you’ll be friends for life.