He has songs like Re-Rewind under his belt. MC Alistair, together with the rest of UK garage band Artful Dodger, is making a storming comeback in the industry with a mike in his hand and music at his fingertips.

We sat outside on a bench among trees and grass, almost forgetting that we were simply sitting in a hotel garden. He was relaxed and chilled out, albeit a bit tired after his long flight that morning.

But it didn't put a damper on his good mood and positive aura. On the contrary. He joked and laughed throughout our chat, with occasional lapses into serious thought-provoking subjects, such as why he got the tribal-style tattoo that is etched onto his right arm.

"What it says is ‘why did you get this tattoo? You didn't really want this one, but because it was on the wall, you got it'," he said laughing.


With his Jamaican heritage, Alistair Julius, aka MC Alistair, is one of the trio that now comprise UK garage group, Artful Dodger. The two others are Mark Hill and Dave Low. Brought to Dubai by Club Fresh, they performed live at the Mix Club, Grand Hyatt Hotel, to give Dubai residents a taste of that ‘something something' that shot them to international fame.

It was in 2001 that their succesful debut platinum album, All About The Stragglers, was released. It featured such hit songs as Re-Rewind- the song that initially launched R'n'B star Craig David's career. At that time, they were all youngsters - only 19 years old.


"I never expected something like that to happen," Alistair said. "We always had our tracks in the underground. But no one could put a face to the music. When Re-Rewind came out it put us on a global stage. It was like, wow!" he said laughing loudly with all sorts of arm movements.


Alistair took another swig from his 7Up bottle and when asked what it was like to become famous almost overnight he said incredulously:

"It feels strange, kinda alien for a while. You are used to doing things a certain way, and suddenly you have to change things.

"Suddenly people want to ask you questions and get excited when they shake your hand. It's weird, cause that's just my hand, you know? It has always been there!" he laughed again and extended his hand as though to prove this point to me. I believed him.


After their successful album, the group suddenly disappeared from the spotlight, leaving many fans confused.

"After the album, we went on a low. We pretty much stoppped releasing tracks. Partly because there was a certain disharmony in the camp with the other group member, Pete Devereux.

"We went touring, and did other things as well. I was involved with a group called De Nada and wrote tracks for them. And I also did some football songs for teams that I'm not going to mention!"

Best friend

Not only did Artful Dodger duck out of the music radar, but Alistair's best friend from childhood, Craig David, did as well.

"From the first album to the second album, they could have done something really, really amazing. It was so set up. But they made many wrong decisions.

"You have people called ‘Yes men'. They stand around and say ‘yeah yeah yeah' all the time when decisions have to be made. His influences were so R'n'B, but now they've changed to more easy listening. It's a shame. But hey, he's still an A-list celebrity."


Even though a few years have passed, Artful Dodger are planning their comeback with a new album, which they hope will be released later this year.

"We're writing it now. It's very eclectic again, like the first album. It comes as a spectrum of dance music. electro, afro house, funky house. We're really enjoying writing it. That's the key," Alistair said with a smile.

Personal stats
Age: 26.
Star sign: Leo.
Nationality: British.
Home base: Southampton.
Status: Single.
Food: I love food pretty much equally!
Film: Braveheart.
Actor: De Niro.
Music: My favourite song is Everything I Own by Ken Booth. It's a reggae song.
Sexiest woman: Angelina Jolie. She ticks all the boxes.
Breakfast today: Nasi Goreng with extra chilli.
How do you like your eggs: Fried, slightly runny.
Clothes: British style - smart, crisp.
Books: I get bored with books easily, but if I have to choose, Harry Potter.
Perfume: Vera Wang.
Country: England.
Sport: If being late is a sport...?
Car: I'm on a bit of a ban at the moment in the UK for speeding. So, I'd say a taxi or foot patrol.
Season: I love summer, but I like winter too.
Intro/extrovert: Extrovert.
Hero: My mum.
Bad habit: I'm so loud. People get embarrassed with me.
Pet hate: Parents who can't control their children.
Dog/cat: Cat.
Coffee/tea: Tea.
Sweet/salt: Salt

10 questions under your skin

1. Most embarrassing moment:
There're a few of them! One time on the stage there was this wet patch on the floor. I was running across the stage and hit the wet patch and I'm sliding and balancing on one foot and I flew right off the stage in front of like 4,000 people. I was crying with laughter.

2. What would you do if you were king of the world: I'd bring all the world's leaders together and have them shot. And then I'd help the people who have nothing. Why do we wait until people are starving to help them? Why not do something when they're hungry instead?

3. Likes and dislikes of your body: I love it all - it's my temple!

4. Change anything in your past, what would it be: That's a hard one. The only thing I can think of is when I was 19, when the first album came out, I spent too much money.

5. Three famous people, dead or alive, to have dinner with: Henry the VIII. The guy had some game, but he, like, decapitated his wife. I need to have a few words with him for that! Today you'd be called a serial killer, you know what I mean! Plus, Malcom X and my mum.

6. What makes you laugh: Unfortunately, other people's tragedy! If someone tripped over right here, I'd help them up, but I'd be in tears. I can't help it!

7. Last day on earth to live: I would spend the day with my daughter and we could do anything that she wanted to do.

8. Bring to a deserted island: Um, I don't know...an umbrella or something. Nah, a woman. Make a whole community.

9. Best and worst thing about Dubai: The best is how cosmopolitan it is. The worst? That you can't get Nasi Goreng everywhere!

10. Final words: "Don't let anything deter you. If you feel like doing something, do it!"