Rapper and actor Riz Ahmed (aka Riz MC), has made a career out of helping to bring to life the stories of others in movies like The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Nightcrawler, plus the upcoming Bourne and Star Wars movies. Daytimer brings to life his own story of growing up in 1990s London as a short film about a boy skipping school to attend his first daytime rave.
The 15-minute-long coming-of-age story, written and directed by Ahmed, shows the boy Naseem (portrayed by Jordan O’Donegan) struggling with different parts of his identity — at school where he’s taunted as “Paki” in a fight, at home where his parents want him to be, and at the vibrant, violence-tinged rave. In a nostalgic article for The Guardian, Sarfraz Manzoor writes about the phenomenon of UK daytime raves:
It was the era of the nightclub, a time when dance music took hold in the UK. But the young British Asians who came of age during the 1980s and 1990s had, on the whole, conservative parents who disapproved of their children going to sweaty nightclubs, getting drunk and hooking up with the opposite sex. Against this repressive backdrop, something new emerged that passed largely unnoticed by the mainstream: club events where thousands of young Asians would listen to music – bhangra mainly – performed by bands and later played by DJs. These events took place not at night but during the afternoon, when those kids were thought to be at college, school or the library. And so they were christened daytimers.
My #Englistan mixtape is out now https://m.soundcloud.com/rizmc/sets/englistan-1 A photo posted by Riz Ahmed (@rizahmed3000) on
Ahmed is sharing Daytimer together with his new mixtape Englistan. From his first track as an MC in 2006 — “Post 9/11 Blues,” which was banned from TV and radio for being controversial — he has commented on society and identity through his music, and Englistan continues that examination, at times on a more personal level. It includes tracks about the financial crisis, depression, and one dedicated to the victim of a so-called “honour killing.” From his interview with Dazed Magazine:
Englistan, as a mixtape, is about stretching the flag so that it’s big enough for all of us. It’s about identity – from what it means to be English today, to what it’s like growing up living a double life, or feeling like you don’t fit in.
You can watch Daytimer online and listen to Englistan online too. For more on how a generation of 1990s and early 2000s clubbing desis changed British culture, with commentary from those who lived through it and the artists who starred in it, check out Dazed Magazine’s documentary Music Nation: British Asian Sound Systems, also embedded below.
Music Nation: British Asian Sound Systems
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