I must have heard the words 'they're the new Clash/Sex Pistols' more times than the children of the 60s were treated to the news that: he's the new Bob Dylan. New music, it transpires, is not really very capable of standing up on it's own two feet without 'word association influence implications' being hastily sown on.
Take The Streets, for example. I was initially as absolutely excited by the content of "Original Pirate Material" as the next man/woman. I bought & thoroughly enjoyed repeated exposure to the LP, foisting it towards anyone with a pair of sympathetic ears that came near. I could hear eclectic beats salvaged from 17 years of house/garage development - innovation in spades - but I could also hear Ian Dury & John Cooper Clarke. That's right - I could hear poetry in motion.
Mike Skinner? A poet? Sounds like a reasonable question. The Independent obviously thought so - that's why they invited a selection of boring old twats to listen to the follow up - the hugely disappointing & lightweight "A Grand Don't Come For Free" (PS - concept LPs are for Yes fans, Mike). Needless to say, the staid ones labelled him 'not in the same league as Pam Ayres' whilst the vaguely more interesting ones who were trying to keep their 'youth association contacts' alive came down on the cautious side of 'interesting but limited'.
Thank fuck for The Independent - take a modern pop music phenomenon & ask a bunch of highbrow old school tie merchants to assess its cultural value. Isn't that a bit like Viz asking its characters to deconstruct Vivaldi?
The New John Cooper Clarke? Do me a favour. Have you ever listened to "Disguise In Love" or "Snap, Crackle & Bop"? Both make The Streets sound like a children's TV movie soundtrack. As the wit & wisdom of Pitman points out eruditely on "It Takes A Nation Of Tossers":
"You talk with a cockney accent but you're from Birmingham. The Streets? Which street are you from? Coronation Street? Do you shag Vera Duckworth on your day off?"
And who could argue with that?
In order to redress the balance, The Independent would be advised to retrogressively canonise the 'Bard of Salford' & start again, possibly clearing the decks to belatedly recognise the 'Big Nosed Bard Of Barking' & Billy Childish while they're at it.
Johnny Forgotten - tMx 15 - 06/04