Flexibition #30: Doug Khan ‘Reagan Speaks For Himself’

I’m delighted to have this offering from special guest Jon More of Coldcut in the Flexibition as it ticks many boxes for me. The flexi in question came free with a comic (tick) includes a spoken word cut up (tick) and they sampled a tiny phrase from it on their classic remix of Eric B & Rakim‘s ‘Paid in Full’ (tick). Obviously I’m inextricably linked to Jon (and Matt) through their label, Ninja Tune, and radio show, Solid Steel, but I was a fan of their work from their first appearance on vinyl so I’m chuffed to have a contribution from Jon here. I’ll let him explain how he came to be in possession of this cracking, president-baiting flexi disc… *

“I bought my first volume of Raw in Holland in 1980 – I used to go every New Year for the fireworks mayhem, record buying in Concerto – junk market digging at Waterloopleinmarkt. On the way to Concerto I passed this, now historic, comic shop…  Lambiek – I came out with a copy of Raw Volume 1… From then I was hooked. When volume 4 came out (March 1982) it came with a bonus Flexi disc…”


*the black & white front cover of the mag is die-cut so that the colour interior shows through – above you can see the Reagan head underneath the cut out window*

“Raw had a history of including odd & sods – chewing gum & trading cards, the serial insert Maus, from Art Spiegelman… Raw was an important discovery, we used excerpts from the Flexi as jingles on Solid Steel. I first discovered artist Mark Beyer in Raw –  we asked Marc to design artwork for our first album – ‘Whats That Noise’… Undoubtedly the cut up style of Doug Kahn‘s Flexi disc sunk in…. interesting little story on producing the Flexi is included in the magazine…”


Khan’ s recording contains a speech by Ronald Reagan, expertly cut and reshuffled to exaggerate the president’s age, failing memory and general ineptitude. It’s an early example of the kind of cut up that Cassette Boy has made a career out of. At one point you hear Ron utter, “OK, alright”, and this tiny snippet ended up near the end of Coldcut’s game-changing ‘7 Minutes of Madness’ mix for Eric B & Rakim. Check it at 1.14 mins in the recording…

…and then at 5.45 and 6.04 in their remix…

To round off the post, here’s some connected art: a ‘Reagan Speaks For Himself’ illustration by Sue Coe from Raw #4 and the Mark Beyer cover that resulted from his commission to design Coldcut’s debut album.
CC_WTNfront* in a bizarre case of extreme coincidence, the day before I received this entry from Jon, the Cut Up documentary I featured in on Radio 4 aired and one of the featured entries was this exact flexi disc.CC_WTNback

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