Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Hold Music

I was sat in a hotel room the other day, Popworld on the telly, bored senseless, when my girlfriend asked why there had to be so much new music all the time. She posited the idea that we should have a rest year from all new music, allowing ourselves a year to catch up and to discover all the music that has passed us by (not even rediscover - so many albums end up un-played, still all cellophane wrapped and unloved). It’s what everyone with an opinion and a few pints/a line or two in them starts crapping on about that they should do with Big Brother in order to refresh the format, give it a year or two off and let it breathe again. I thought, “Bloody hell, you know what, she’s on to something here”. I thought this as I watched the telly and saw the best that British music currently had on offer.

By God, it was bad. I saw Jack Penate, a hapless looking buffoon playing a horrible brand of needy indie skiffle, the one bloke who as a kid must have stared long and hard at the Fine Young Cannibals “Suspicious Minds” video and thought that the rubber legged guys dancing looking ‘cool’. Unfortunately for everyone, his oxen like physique doesn’t add much by way of gracefulness to his leaden prance-about. I’m sure he’s a top bloke, but fuck me, is this necessary? He has all the charm of ‘Just William’ shortly after crapping his pants, caught scrumping apples, just prior to a brutal, very deserved, caning. Next up, I saw TV advertising for The Holloways album, called, oh yes, “So This Is Great Britain?” – wow, no shit, People’s Poet, what else you got for us? The final straw was some former X Factor-er or Pop Idol or whatever playing blow football against Alex James (not even going there…) – the depths people will stoop to in order to get the last few seconds of fame they so crave, almost funny if it wasn’t so wincingly desperate. Neither the glorified Simon Cowell sanctioned pub singer or that (the insult I used here has been deemed possibly too harsh) who makes the cheese now managed to get a word in against the chirruping, gently sardonic unfunny presenters. After that, every successive act that lumbered on screen was like the Glastonbury mud or the Big Brother house gruel - just there, sticking to your shoes, sticking in your throat, unnecessary, annoying in the extreme – just more tedious excuses for music.

It was pretty soon after this that I started wondering whether maybe it’s just that I’m too old now and I’m starting to feel an affinity with old war horses like Luke Haines and Bill Drummond and their respective attempts to block out music from modern life, to foster an appreciation for the good stuff by silencing the bad out for a day or a week or whatever. I also pondered that maybe there was something in the air that day – that very morning I’d read with wide-eyed amazement about newsreader Mika Brzezinski’s refusal to read out a lead story on Paris Hilton on the MSNBC breakfast show. Her determination to cut off the oxygen supply of celebrity to someone so undeserving of it felt to me like the first wave breaking on a turning tide. Maybe her fantastically laudable act could be the spark that starts a move away from a smash and grab culture of instant gratification, the constant struggle to keep up with the Joneses, to keep feeling you have to give a fuck about the mundane or worse, just because it’s new and that’s what people like nowadays. Well maybe, at the end of the day, when it comes to giving a shit, the people are fucking stupid. Maybe now is the time to strike a blow to stop wave after wave of sallow faced, gimlet eyed indie bands, go back to a few old records, stop and smell the flowers rather than sprinting to the NME tent to see Kate Nash before she’s deemed unfashionable. Fuck a culture that lends a badge of honour to every bright young thing just cos they are shiny and new, regardless of whether they’re talented or not (‘cos let’s face it, most of these goons wouldn’t pass muster against, say Birdland, Fabulous or the second Suede album). I want out.

Yes, I thought, I’ve fucking had it with new music, the Mrs is right, let’s have that year off and reboot the whole fucking system. That's what I thought as I lay back and flicked open my Mojo 80’s special edition with exclusive Police interview on the cover as that new fucking Macca number hammers away on the telly on an I Pod advert... yes, this is what’s it’s all about…

Old news here but they've got a point...
  • Luke Haines National Pop Strike

  • Bill Drummond’s No Music Day