Page last updated at 14:49 GMT, Thursday, 29 January 2009

Lib Dem revels in a life of grime

Norman Lamb and Tinchy Stryder
MP turns MC: Mr Lamb is keen on promoting Tinchy Styder's career

By day Norman Lamb walks the corridors of Westminster; by night he becomes an impresario of grime, a form of urban music sweeping the UK.

The Lib Dem health spokesman has become involved in the career of up-and-coming artist Tinchy Stryder, who works for his son's recording company.

Mr Lamb, MP for North Norfolk, attends gigs, has offered his car for lifts and even invested 10,000.

He told the BBC that he and his wife were "living the grime scene".

'Opened up'

Mr Lamb, whose musical choices before his son took up a career in the industry were more likely to be Mozart and Led Zeppelin, is transfixed by the genre.

He said: "It's been the central part of our lives for the last three years. We've lived grime.

ON NORMAN LAMB'S iPOD
Mozart's clarinet concerto
Robert Plant/Led Zeppelin
Bruce Springsteen
Alison Krauss
Tinchy Stryder

"We've heard the music at home and I suppose every parent is opened up to new stuff by youngsters.

"It's stuff we wouldn't ordinarily hear and we wouldn't normally go to the gigs."

Grime originated in east London and its best-known exponent is probably Dizzee Rascal, who won the Mercury Prize in 2003.

Mr Lamb's son Archie, and his friend Jack Foster, left school half-way through sixth-form to set up a recording label Takaover Entertainment.

Soon afterwards, the MP remortgaged his house to give them a 10,000 business loan.

'Discussions'

Last year Archie and Jack's company managed to get Tinchy Styder - real name Kwasi Danquah - onto BBC Radio 1's playlist.

And the 22-year-old's latest song, Take Me Back, got to number three in the UK charts earlier this month.

Mr Lamb said: "We've sort of followed the thing as it happens. We've had lots of discussions about whether one track or another should be released."

Sometimes the lyrics in urban music are quite challenging, but there's other stuff that's really good and clever
Norman Lamb MP

He has also checked frequently to see how sales of Take Me Back are going.

"Archie and Jack left school and that was that. It's an interesting collaboration between two middle-class lads from Norfolk and a lad from London.

"I've met Tinchy a few times and he's been to our house. I've got some Tinchy on my iPod. I would be in big trouble if I didn't."

Mr Lamb, a solicitor by training and North Norfolk MP since 2001, has been known to attend gigs wearing his suit, having voted in the House of Commons.

He said: "I've got a catholic taste in music. I think there's merit in all genres, whether it's classical or modern stuff.

"Inevitably there's a diversity within grime or urban music. There's stuff that is accessible and there's stuff that's not.

"Sometimes the lyrics in urban music are quite challenging, but there's other stuff that's really good and clever."

Of his son's career choice, he said: "We take the view that, had he gone to university, we would have given him as much financial support as we could afford.

"My younger son is applying at the moment, so he will get that support.

"It would have been unfair if we had not done the same for our older son, who is doing something entrepreneurial and exciting.

"The only bad thing is that my Vauxhall Astra was driven around the country, taking Tinchy all over the place. It was ruined, so I had to use a Citroen instead."



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