QR’s hit the UK

Well QR codes have arrived, fresh from the Japanese economy, diverted across to the US and finally to the UK. You may ask: what is a QR? This question doesn’t mean you’re out of the loop, just not in the forefront of the technology industry or perhaps you have a department who deals with that, but one thing is for sure you will know pretty soon.

QR codes are Quick response codes that no doubt you’ve seen on posters and publications distributed around London. The little black and white mosaics contain little square blocks of information.  A basic code can contain a few letters and the more complex code can hold up to 1,264 characters of information.

Question: Why hold this information whether small or large, and who cares? Well a QR code feeds into a smart phone with a QR scanner installed, once it has been scanned, it immediately sends the smart phone user to the website for more information on what they have just viewed.

This breakthrough is of the most value to businesses today seeking awareness of their online presence. With this, QR codes are generating more and more diverse possibilities for businesses to reach their core markets. This has opened a new stream of business opportunities and thus revenue around coding.  As QR codes grow in the UK, it is becoming clear that basic black and white codes, to the eye, all appear identical and devoid of identity . This is no doubt why major companies such as MTV, Nike and Ralph Lauren have personalised their QR codes to reflect their brands. These are called Maze QRs or Mazes and are created by a QR coder, similar to a graphic designer but also skilled in code manipulation.

Although there are few customized QR coders in the UK, one of the best UDL has seen, competing with the US in a major way is a company called MazeQR who’s slogan mysteriously states “Be found”. By intention,  MazeQR are nearly impossible to find. They exist in the Matrix and are found strictly by Qr code. MazeQR have been in existence for less than a year yet have supplied tailored QR codes for major establishments such as Comic relief and Jade Jagger. Their tangeable presence in Notting Hill made it possible for us to find a spokeswoman. Joy Daly, whom we managed to catch up with. A concept scout for MazeQR, says “Personalised coding can cost from just hundreds to thousands of pounds depending on the uniqueness and the intricacy of the work”.

QR code readers are available free for download directly to your smart phone here or for blackberry here  and for iphone users here. As for MazeQR, I guess they find you.

Angel Lewis.

Angel Lewis’s Hip Hop Time Machine 3

From the UK to the US and back these are the reflections of one mans travels and experiences outside of the boundaries of time.

Thrown back and forth in hip hops colourful history. Enjoy the ride

It’s strange how much easier it is now for me to travel in time. I question whether I’m in the future thinking about the past, or if I’m in the past thinking about the future?

I’m reading George Orwell’s book,  ‘1984’ and wondering why he never mentioned anything about scratching, ‘cos here I am in 1984 making horrible noises with my brother’s ‘Ray-gun-omics’ LP. Flash made scratching look so easy in the movie ‘Wildstyle’. I figured by pressing the tape button on the stereo system I could switch from the record player to the tape deck and be like Flash, but it sounded more like screech than scratch. I guess that’s where the journey began. ‘The Girl Is Fine’ is playing on a tape I made, compliments of Radio Invicta. On the other side of the phono button, that pop sound as I switch back and forth from turntable to tape, was becoming a problem, but as my fingers got faster the noise seemed to disappear. Interesting how you can master those compromised tools you acquire.

Almost between an inhale and an exhale, my Bush stereo system became 2 Technics turntables and a phonic mixer. Thanks to my mother recognising my commitment to the cause, she thought a new pair of Technics SL 1200’s worth going into debt for.

Exchanging record titles became commonplace for DJ’s. I gave up, ‘I Just Wanna Do My Thing’ by Edwin Starr for ‘Take Me To The Mardi Gras’ by Bob James. Cut Master Swift was one of my trading partners and thought the, now classic, Bob James song was common knowledge in West London but it wasn’t; maybe to Bertrum and Froggy from Krew, but I wasn’t in their league yet, so he threw in another title for free.

Remember these were just the names. We’d now have to do the searching from record shop to record shop for those rare singles. These titles were songs DJ’s would play but would rarely reveal the Artist or Title.  I remember tearing off the record labels and devaluing the records, a small price to pay, if I was to be true to the exclusive DJ fraternity.

How many times I bought the right artist, wrong song and vice versa. The important part of the song was the drum break but not all breaks were alike.  This is probably the sole reason why Hip Hop absorbed every single genre of music. It was like a monster that kept eating anything funky and growing and growing. I remember when I cut the hell out of ‘The Big Beat’ by Billy Squires it was at the Albany Empire in Deptford. You have just four bars of the break before the singing is followed by the rock guitar, revealing the genre of that song to a mainly dance hall crowd that are barely ready for Hip Hop let alone un- hip Rock! If I wasn’t so nice on the turntables the crowd’s patience would have run out but they let me cue up the next record despite Billy Squires screaming.

But then again DJ Big Bob at Empire Boulevard got away with more than that with a much tougher Brooklyn crowd. It wasn’t all Rob Base and Big Daddy Kane, it was ‘Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll’ to ‘Put The Music Where Your Mouth Is’ then ‘Liquid Liquid’. I remember skating to the whole of ‘The Mexican’ by Babe Ruth (beginning to end) but Big Bob had turned a simple roller skating rink into a church of music from his Tuesday and Thursday contributions.

I broke my leg in one sermon, but that’s a whole nother story. The mid 90’s were just about when DJ’s were getting their props and people were starting to realise how important the DJ was with Zhane’s tribute ‘Hey Mr. DJ.’

Shorty’s even prettier in the flesh… that’s when I realize I am actually in the future thinking back to the past, sitting across the salon and waiting for one half of the singing duo to sit in my chair, while I’m figuring out what to do with these uneven patches in her head and why in hell a public figure at the height of their game would risk a homemade hair cut – go figure. I admit I’m a bit star struck, but you would be too if you were a budding producer. Anyway I gotta figure out how to get her back to the studio…


Dear friend Shem McCauley DJ STREETS AHEAD.