Keith Flint: The Prodigy’s singer raced me in his Peugeot 309 GTi

(Traduzione italiana a fondo pagina)

It is so sad to hear of Keith Flint’s suicide. He was an absolute Gentleman.

I met him in about late 1996, when I was a young Planning Officer in Braintree. He wanted permission for an extension and a garage for his yellow TVR sports car and a games room. His house and his other house, 5 doors down the road, were both painted yellow.

The Prodigy – Baby's Got A Temper (Official Video)

At first I did not know who he was. He drove his white Peugeot 309 GTI onto the driveway in front of my then Red Fiat Tipo Sedicivalvole. A couple of days before the same car had raced me down Essex Regiment Way, a very fast wide road with roundabouts.

The Prodigy – No Good (Start The Dance) (Official Video)

Keith was behind and I seem to recall the Tipo was a little quicker in a straight line than the 309, but you had to rev it within an inch of its life, bouncing off the rev limiter at about 7,500 rpm. However on the roundabouts Keith was far more committed than me. My excuse is that I think the 309 was lighter than the tipo and although the Sedicivalvole was lowered it never instilled that much confidence in the bends like the 205’s, 309’s and golf GtI’s of the time.

The Prodigy – Voodoo People (Pendulum Remix)

That’s my excuse! Great fun racing him though. I did cross examine Keith on his driving and I was left with the impression that this was a fairly normal speed for him. Back in the 80’s and 90’s, no speed cameras, few police and as young crazy men you could drive as fast as your car would go.

The Prodigy – Breathe (Official Video)

Essex Regiment Way is only 2 lanes however the white line is like an unofficial lane for high speed driving. However now I am old and and slow you won’t find me in the white lane much anymore, except if s BMW driver beeps me off.

The Prodigy – Poison (Official Video)

Anyway back to Keith, I asked him if he was a builder and in a Essex accent said “No I’m a musician”. He explained he’d just returned from the States. I then noticed the yellow hair and the stud in his tongue and the penny dropped. The Prodigy Single Firestarter had made it to number 1 in 1996, only 21 in Italy!

The Prodigy – Firestarter (Official Video)

We chatted about music and he showed me round. Subsequently I granted planning permission for the garage etc, but it was only a very small Victorian terraced house and I guess he would have soon afterwards bought a much larger house. He and the band continued to live in and around Braintree , Leroy converted a windmill and Keith bought a local village pub in the village of Pleshey.

The Prodigy – Warrior's Dance Uncut (Official Video)

A lovely kind man, not what you might expect from his image as a firestarter, a very quick driver and our thoughts go out to his family and the rest of the boys in the band. Keith, make lots of noise in heaven.

Mark

Ѐ molto triste venire a conoscenza del suicidio di Keith. Era un vero gentiluomo.
L’ho conosciuto alla fine del 1996 quando ero un giovane assessore all’urbanistica a Braintree. Voleva il permesso per ampliare il suo terreno e fare un garage per la sua TVR gialla e una sala giochi. Le sue due case, poco distanti fra di loro, erano colorate di giallo.

All’inizio non sapevo chi fosse. L’avevo visto passare con la sua Peugeot 309 GTI sul vialetto di fronte alla mia Fiat Tipo Sedicivalvole rossa. Un paio di giorni prima quella stessa macchina mi aveva sfidato sulla Essex Regiment Way, una strada larga e veloce con delle rotatorie. Keith era dietro e mi sembrava di ricordare che la Tipo fosse un po’ più veloce della 309 in rettilineo ma dovevi tirarle il collo fino a 7.500 giri. Sulle rotonde però dovevo adoperarmi di più. Mi giustifico dicendo che la 309 era più leggera della Tipo e nonostante quest’ultima avesse molle ribassate, non infondeva la stessa confidenza in curva come le 205, le 309 e le Golf GTI del tempo. Questa è la mia scusa! Ѐ stato divertente però. Avevo osservato il suo stile di guida veloce e ho avuto come l’impressione che per lui fosse normale andare così allegro. Negli anni ’80 e ’90 non c’erano autovelox, la polizia era poca e i giovani scatenati potevano correre quanto volevano. La Essex Regiment Way ha solo due corsie e la linea di mezzeria è una terza linea non ufficiale per le corse. Ormai sono vecchio e difficilmente mi troverai lì, a meno che un guidatore di BMW non mi suoni.
Gli chiesi se era un muratore e con un accento dell’Essex mi disse: “No, sono un musicista”. Mi spiegò che era appena tornato dagli States. Notai poi i capelli gialli e il piercing sulla lingua e capii finalmente. “Firestarter”, il singolo dei Prodigy raggiunse il primo posto in classifica nel 1996, solo il 21esimo in Italia! Parlammo poi di musica e mi fece vedere la sua casa. Garantii poi il permesso per l’ampliamento, ma vedendo la piccola villetta a schiera vittoriana pensai che si sarebbe presto trasferito in una casa più grande. Lui e la band continuarono a vivere a Braintree e dintorni e Keith comprò un piccolo pub a Pleshey.
Era un brav’uomo e i nostri pensieri vanno alla sua famiglia e ai componenti della band.
Keith, fai un sacco di casino in paradiso.

Mark