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Back to the future…

I accidentally saw some of Jools Holland’s show on TV tonight.

There was some bugger who had his first record for 13 years. “Lazy fucker” opined the missus*. I said it sounded like ZZ Top and added the truly remarkable fact that whilst ZZ Top are noted for the beards of the two front men but the third Top is a clean-shaven drummer who is actually called Frank Beard. The missus said, “You could dine out on that anecdote for a month”. So I fucked myself off to the shed but not before I heard this:

Now correct me if I am wrong but does that not sound like U2 c. Joshua Tree? I had had a taco and a kip and woke up in the ’80s. It feels like the mid-’80s except I remember that as a time of general optimism. Things were generally getting better and I had a funny teacher who wore dark glasses and all that. But not now. It’s all fucking misery now. Each child born or immigrant who enters these Shittish Isles* is a “burden” on front-line services and all that. The very thought that they might just be the next Alan Turing seems lost. As does the more prosaic idea that that immigrant might well be a nurse or doctor who will work for the NHS so in what sense are they a burden on the NHS?

Pop music is a fickle thing and that is why it is so important as a cultural marker. These days “serious” popular music is dominated by professional miserablists such as Blandplay. The ’80s I seem to recall had bands that were clever but not The Smiths. I mean even semi-goths had a larf then… But now. Nothing is taken culturally seriously unless it mongers The Doom. Newsnight on BBC2 was muntering on about what Fukushima means for the UK nuclear industry. Yeah, like Sellafield often gets hit by tsunamis… Today’s Indy front page was ranting about the huge amount of plutonium there. Might I draw Occam’s razor here and carve out a solution based on the fact we are currently sort of at war with Libya…

2011 – it’s like 1986 shouted through the megaphone of a “You’re all going to die!” street ranter. Maybe I am reflecting on the golden days of youth too fondly but at least you could have a pint and a fag in the pub to console yourself back then. We are now so obsessed with the ways we can die we have forgotten how to live.

So I wander down to my shack (where my computers are) with a light ale and the missus says, “Be careful – beer, the dark and low-slung trousers are a recipe for disaster”. Well, maybe but I had my LED torch to lead me and anyway… Back in my salad days, “beer, the dark and low-slung trousers” was the recipe for a good night out leading on to questionable things…

Now, I’m depressed.

*A phrase I owe to Viz. They also did a map of “Cuntinental Europe” which caused a minor storm by portraying the Finns as all pissed and the Irish as either terrorists or kiddie-fiddling priests.

*That is potentially a great title for a novel. Just a shame I don’t have characters or a plot… They tend to help.


  1. Laird says:

    Well, thanks for sharing. That was about the most boring crap I’ve heard in many a year. (Of course, I don’t listen to too much “popular” music these days, so maybe it’s all boring crap now. Or maybe I’ve simply turned into a grumpy old fart. Or both.) The thing is, I like Jools Holland, so I was expecting something, well, better.

  2. Talwin says:

    “You’re all going to die”. Not if the British government of the late 70s early 80s had anything to do with it. For, did they not publish – and send to every household – ‘Protect and Survive’?

    That was the one which, if memory serves, advised us that should the Commies shit us with our town’s own, personal, 10-megaton airburst, we should first (with 4 minutes warning, of course) remove an internal door, lean it against a wall, and, for our protection, retreat into the angle thus formed.

  3. RAB says:

    “Lazy Fucker!”

    Oh no you bleedin don’t! That’s the title of my autobiography. ;-)

    Yep, very U2, chronically derivative, but then all pop music is these days. There hasn’t been any new ideas since about 85.

    Jools is a good man Laird, but he can only work with the material he’s given, and they’ve cut his show down to half an hour, or three quarters in the extended replay version.

    Pop music is also very fragmented these days, there are no movements and trends to focus on. It is just another entertainment again, not a soundtrack for a generation.

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