Leader 20It’s fucked. Broken. Damaged. All over. Pete Doherty (wanker). And Elton John (very rich wanker). On the same stage. As I said: fucked.
Back at the end of the last century, a resurgence of guitar-based combos & a renewed rock’n’roll attitude promised some of the most exciting 4/6 stringed entertainment since the halcyon days of the late 70s. It seemed for a couple of days, anyhow that the walls of commerciality were going to come tumbling down like the walls of Jericho - & that a new independent renaissance would spring up in place of those horrible multi-national major labels. There was hope.
They began to troop in from all over the world: NYC gave us The Strokes ‘they’re the new Ramones’ they said. Detroit chipped in with The White Stripes ‘they’ve re-appropriated the blues for a new generation’ they said. Australia gave us The Vines ‘the ghost of Kurt Kobain fronting Radio Birdman’ they said. London shrugged, apologised for its tardiness - & promptly threw up The Libertines ‘the most explicit portrayal of London Town since The Clash’ they said. The press went mad. Well, the NME, anyway. The rest fell away - & The Libertines assumed their ‘rightful’ throne as the ‘new’ whatever.
All over the country almost over night everyone stopped wanting to be Oasis & started wanting to be The Libertines. The Unstrung, The Paddingtons, The Artic Monkeys on every street corner another bunch of spotty herberts with trust-fund Gibsons gathered to plan their assault on the handful of people nationwide that still actually give a shit about white boys with guitars.
“Nobody wants the previous generation’s superior taste rammed down their gullet”, claimed Simon Price, in his recent review of Television @ Meltdown (IOS Arts Section - 26/06/05).
That’s right. The current generation are already far too busy eating their parents record collections whole. They haven’t got the time or the oesophagus space either, for that matter to have anything rammed down their already somewhat congested gullets.
In 2005, the DIY ethic can be defined thus: accessing a pair of stepladders, accessing the loft, accessing the crates containing said parents past, accessing ‘that duophonic Bogshed sound’ - & subsequently introducing it to the confines of your own bedroom bound combo.
Never has a generation been so bereft of originality. Never have so few been so lauded by so many for so little: the John Cooper Clarkisms of The Streets, the vodka & Orange Juice of Franz Ferdinand, the blurred visions of the Kaiser Chiefs, the Television repeats of Razorlite, the Duran Duran wide-screen escapism of the Killers, the reheated U2005 of Coldplay - the vacuous overtures of the overpaid & the under-talented.
Be very scared of people who tell you that right now is a very interesting period for new music. They. May. Have. A. Vested. Interest. Zane how Lowe can you go?
So who’s fault is it?
Personally, I blame the Stoned Roses. One voice, one song, one LP - & the outrageously poor Happy Mondays surely one of the most over rated piles of sick ever to get thrown up on to a rock n roll stage.
Between them, they made it ‘OK’ for white, working class males to deconstruct the notion of ‘art as rebellion’ & replace it with ‘art as product to be consumed whilst inside a football stadium’. They may have pulled two genres together at gun point - like a couple of tectonic plates that were celestially designed to remain exactly where they were (& for anyone who has forgotten exactly how excruciatingly embarrassing the dance/rock interface actually was go & buy “The Best Of The Farm” for a £1 from Tesco or get into Primal Scream or Kasabian!!!) but they fucked up rock n roll’s eco system in the process.
Next stop: Oasis the group not the shop, or the fruit drink. Not only did they have one of the poorest names in the history of rock n roll they also had lyrics which made the fridge magnets in your mum’s kitchen & the limericks nailed to the wall of your dad’s shed seem like the Complete Works Of Shakespeare.
No wonder the kids are currently ‘doing’ post punk circa 1979/80 that’s how far you have to go back to find something even vaguely worth ripping off (which, incidentally, was also the era of The Specials - & the last Ska revival which is kind of spooky - considering the rash of very poor new groups currently attempting to reheat Ska for the umpteenth time).
In 2005 & a mere handful of precious groups keep the flames of non-conformism alive: Black Time, The Cherry Reds, Luxembourg, sexmachina, The Boyfriends to name but 5. Maybe there is nothing new under the sun. Maybe it has all been said before. Maybe it’s because I’m not a Londoner. Whatever.
Consider this a gauntlet. It’s on the ground in clear view of ‘your generation’. Pick it up. Run with it. Make us eat our words. Burn down the walls of heartache & bring integrity back into our lives. This is your chance to make a difference. Don’t just shrug & move on to the next level on your X-box.
“Let fury have the hour, anger can be power, you know that we can use it”, as some bunch of old farts once said.
Harrison Bored tMx 20 07/05
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