Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ha, it seems I'm not alone in my nostalgia for 80s tribalism. Though musically this particular tribe was all about nostalgia for the 60s. Nostalgia about nostalgia, am I getting old or what?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Public Enemy - Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos

Polemical, moi?

Soft Cell - Say Hello Wave Goodbye

80s, 80s, 80s!

With a 90s video clash raging elsewhere on the net, plus the unannounced return from the Land Of The Free* of my old adversary in these matters Mr Marian Siedloczek, I think it’s time to open up that old 80s v 90s wound again.

Although we have found a considerable amount of common ground, for example concurring on the greatness of Pulp’s “Common People” when it came on the juke box the other night – an opinion, incidentally, which I notice is shared by the Impostume** – Marian and I nevertheless remain at ideological loggerheads on the general issue of which decade is The Best. And to be fair, he hasn’t made it easy for me, chucking a few well aimed darts to deflate the hectoring pomposity of my 80s paean of yore. I perhaps did him a disservice last time by caricaturing his dislike for the obviously tackier and more superficial aspects of the 80s, since his misgivings do indeed go far deeper. The reality is that what he spurns about the 80s is at least in part precisely what I love about them – the starkly clear divisions, ghettoism, oppositional posturing, commitment, lack of detachment. And set in the context of a part of the world which in the 80s was still under the heel of communist rule it’s not hard to understand a distrust of such good intentions, earnest enthusiasm, of spurious and sentimental notions of togetherness, having seen where all this can lead.

My protest here feels a bit lame here when set against my opponent’s kudos of having lived under a genuinely totalitarian regime. Talk about drop-dead cool. At the time I had to make do with Thatcher, who vile as she undoubtedly was, surely cannot be compared in terms of repressiveness to the conscienceless mediocrities in charge of running communist Czechoslovakia. I also admit that my own opinions and tastes at that time were largely shaped by an unashamedly and rather unquestioningly left wing hatred of her, all with the luxury of never having had to experience an authoritarian socialist system first hand. And to be frank, my opinions and tastes haven’t changed that much since.

Again I am guilty of crudeness, brazenly so. But I like crudeness, it makes me feel comfortable. Yes, I acknowledge that there are obvious dangers lurking within the “us and them” mentality, problems of how the supposedly united “us” are to be defined, and by whom. But isn’t it appealing all the same to be part of a gang, to have that sense of belonging? Isn’t it rather sad that these days we’re all too smugly supercool and cynically above things to allow any labels to be attached to ourselves, rather than being able to say, without feeling a little bit silly, “I’m a punk/mod/goth” etc.? On the other hand, look at the tenaciousness of these tribes – retro though they indisputably are, they have survived because they cater to a quite primal urge, providing sensitive teens with a refuge from anomie. And aesthetically speaking, isn’t it more thrilling to be shouted at by Henry Rollins than to have some dope-smoking slacker tell you “hey, lighten up, dude”? What do you mean, no?

I concede that I am not going to get around this one without mentioning the bloody French, as well as the tediously vague concept of post-modernism. In philosophical terms I’ve always been more of a Foucault than a Baudrillard man. Sure, meta-narratives have their dangers, but without any ideological tools at all we are utterly lost. As Foucault recognised, there will always be a need for ideology. In fact, isn’t “Common People” so great precisely because it is so polemical, and thus unrepresentative of the majority of 90s music? And if Baudrillard was right in his predictions, as the petering out of avant-gardism and the pallid resignation of Oasis-style pastiche that characterised so much 90s music suggests, then damn, I wish he was wrong. After all isn’t this supposedly sexy “playfulness” all a bit vacuous and unsatisfying?

Perhaps I am a sentimental old hypocrite, unsuited to these times, lamenting the loss of the pioneering spirit whilst being hopelessly retro myself. Nevertheless, I would rather live with (if not openly flaunt) my philosophical flaws than take the degenerate easy option of relativism. In the name of culture, I say: Get up off your arses and start making some bombs!

*Only joking, he was actually in the USA

**Though this is only to be expected from such a cloth-capped, chip-on-shoulder northerner. I mean, he even prefers the Smiths to the Jesus and Mary Chain!

Thursday, May 24, 2007


The Thin White Rope tribute project is finally here. Sincerest congratulations and thanks to all parties involved. Both bold and respectful. Cracking stuff.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Again, youtube and their allies at New Blogger confound me, forcing me to retract my sniping post of a few days back about the non-appearance of the Minor Threat video below onto this page. After all, it only took them three days. God knows what they'd achieve given 10 years. Just look at how the very architect of the concept of New, Tony Blair, who has finally announced his resignation date, has transformed Britain over that period. My, the place is virtually unrecognisable. Corruption, sleaze, inefficient public healthcare and education systems, appalling traffic, woeful public transport, rampant street crime, excessive social inequality, all things of the past these days. Good riddance Tony, you were shit.
Here's a picture of her fanny. And look at those eyes. Christ, what a loathsome, dozy slag.

Paris Hilton.

What an absolute fucking cunt. She gets a measly 45 days in prison after committing an offence which could have resulted in innocent people getting killed and then violating her driving ban, because normal rules obviously don’t apply to her. But should they or shouldn’t they? First she complains that she’s not being treated like an ordinary citizen, and is being singled out for punishment because she’s rich and famous. Boo fucking hoo. But then she argues that she in fact shouldn’t be treated like just any ordinary citizen, but should be afforded privileges, because she enlivens the “mundane” lives of drones like us. And in backing the petition, in which she is referred to as a “role model” – presumably for being born into a fortune, never doing an honest day’s work and behaving like a stupid irresponsible sack of shit who believes it her God-given right to jeopardise people’s lives - she urges her fans “please help and sihn it”. Rules of spelling also apply to you, you pigshit-thick piece of trash. I’m thinking of starting my own petition to up the stakes to capital punishment. And beware, you waste of fucking oxygen, I can spell. If enough people agree, I would take great delight in chopping the bitch’s fucking head off myself. Scum.

Minor Threat - Out of Step (video clip)

Now that's what I call a pop song!

Monday, May 07, 2007

It has come to my attention, not for the first time in my life, that I am smirked at in certain quarters for my lack of refinement and subtlety, for my almost wilful crudeness, for what is not only my failure but in fact pig-headed refusal to appreciate the finer things in life. Well now this makes me rather indignant I have to say. After all, have I not publicly sung the praises of such craftsmen as Thin White Rope and the Young Gods on this very site? Of course, these are bands who are not averse to the use of brute force within their masterful seduction of the listener, but to suggest that this is all they have in their artillery itself betrays pitiful crudeness of interpretation.

Nevertheless, I have no qualms about stating that I have been dealt the blow, or alternatively blessed with the gifts, of an angry nature and short attention span. I have no intention of hiding my penchant for the concise, rapier-like (and often withering) précis under a bushel. Needless fannying about tends to make my lip curl. And on the subject of the Young Gods, whilst searing rock n roll classics such as “The Night Dances”, or the more recent “Freeze” frequently inspire me to shake my physically concise and hirsute form with spastic abandon, during longer and more ponderous Doors rip-offs like “Summer Eyes”, I’m more likely to end up drumming my fingers.

You want iconoclasm? You got it. The VU’s “Heroin”? The Smiths’ “The Queen Is Dead”? Mozart’s Requiem? Too long, not enough shouting. Impostume, don’t try my patience.

Actually, now I think about it, "Small Man, Big Mouth" might have been a better choice of Minor Threat track. Enjoy.