Sunday, 6 September 2009

More pretentious bleatings about the demise of everything pure, etc

Just as I had realised I hadn't written anything here for over three months, just as I was shaking my weary head in an effort to drop some cultural thought on the dusty carpet, along comes the Observer Music Monthly and its Beatles Rock Band cover story.

I know, I know. How very obvious! How very unvestigative! How very thoughtless! But then I cannot let it pass without comment. My initial comment was a long, shattered howl into the open pages. Up until this point, I had managed to keep my angry shouting over the years confined to the TV and the occasional Daily Mail headline, but having read about four paragraphs of the fawning, Macca-spouting drivel, Simon Garfield's bleating criticism of this corporate mulch damning all of us with faint rebuke, I got myself right mad.

It seems too obvious to type, but these dickhead Weekend on Sunday features have always been about lifestyle over content: Dutch wine, etc? In the same magazine, there is an (as yet unread, my hands still tremble too hard) article on Czechoslovakia's underground anti-Communist node, The Plastic People of the Universe, charting their role in the distant Velvet Revolution, and I can understand the allure of The Angle, of making pop music "relevant" to the outside world - but surely the whole point of the deification of The Beatles is that they defined Everything They Touched. I've nothing against the melding of the Fab Four with the MTV's Harmonix video game Rock Band format - it looks fun. What steams my broccoli is the fact that it's a rambling, arse-kissing, lazy skidmark of a cover feature, replete with ads for the latest regurgation of their back catalogue, when it should be confined to the Promotional Editorial sinbin.

The enduring fascination with the Four "Shareholders" That Shook The Marketing Tree So Hard The Buds of Creativity Never Really Recovered is understandable. Towards the back page, my personal music critical Jesus, Paul Morley, puts another one of his fingers onto the point, sketching out the possible reasons for the global, epochal success and mythological importance: we needed a "gang of competitive, irascible auto-didactic ruffians craving glamour, experience and self-enlightenment" and they happened to be the right Beatles at the right time. It could have been anyone, and that certainly explains how otherwise inexplicably shabby the Lovable Moptops have become. Read it -

Admittedly, I came fairly late to this pop game. By the mid-Eighties, a lot of the battles had already been won, a lot of the marketing leylines of youthful "expression" had already been navigated. I had my own skirmishes, my own petty battle-lines, and a great deal of those scars are still livid enough to split their stitches on occasion. However, now that the internet has opened the history, present and future of recorded music out in front of us like a trancendental picnic cloth, we all stroll around our very own musical Tiergartens like self-indulgent aristocrats, taking down Mercury-nominated venison here, loosing the hounds on the latest alt.rock sensations there, browsing, always browsing, and above all, congratulating ourselves on the seamless continuation of our own idiosyncratic cultural narratives; now that we live here and now, the game is largely up. I know this; I know rock/pop is now a nostalgic creature at best, its most meaningful years far behind it. But the idea that the most exciting thing in music this month is John, Paul, George and Pacman grinds my scarlet guts to distraction. Write about music, you ulcerous cretins - isn't that what the magazine is supposed to be about? Isn't that what you're supposed to be so all-gosh-durned-fucking-fired-up about, you salary-drawing fuckstains?

The one good thing about this videogame release is the sneaking suspicion that this is the true reason for the curtain coming down on the trickling pop culture head-wound that is Oasis. After all, why should Noel continue to battle against his monstrous kin any longer now that he can pretend to be a Beatle from the comfort of his own cocaine-streaked coffee table? A stealthy genius after all.

Your (awkwardly pretentious) pal, Coc x

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