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» One Touch Football - Archive » Music » Old man advises critics to cool it (Page 10)

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Author Topic: Old man advises critics to cool it
Gangster Octopus
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The Falklands War was one of the most depressing points in my life. (Yet strangely exciting.) You knew that Thatcher was in forever once it was over, and there was fuck all you could do about it.
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Robin Carmody
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Good stuff, naturally. I'd got a little nervous about going back here, as I always do with threads which have been very emotionally intense for me (and with some of my earlier posts I was doing a Melody Maker singles page thing: tired as fuck, and writing with far greater emotional intensity precisely because of it).

Spearmint: you're not the first to have imagined me to be far older than I am. But did you think that because I know my post-war history (for which I won't apologise) or because I possibly come over as something of a young fogey (which maybe I am, but I try to fight it)?

I think A de C's point about "Beaverbrook clones" is well-made, but (as he hints) I would apply it to Black much much more than Murdoch. If Murdoch ever was that, rather than a US propagandist above all else, he's long since ceased to be it. I think the best description of Black was in that programme about him shown in BBC Four's "Storyville": that he embodied the classic Canadian dynamic, suffering a serious identity crisis in a country caught between two models (which arguably now applies just as much to Britain) and aspiring simultaneously both to American commercialism and faded British imperial glory, trying to have it both ways. Buying the Telegraph obviously fitted with his aspirations to the old elite of the Old Country, but it would be wrong to claim that he simply left it as it was: the paper became a platform for US ultra-capitalist propaganda in a way it had simply never been before, and it also embraced popular culture in a way it never had before. So that proves the point: he aspired to the old ways of Britain, but changed them *almost accidentally* because he could not leave behind the fact that he was raised on the brink of the US, and what that had done to him.

When Black bought the Telegraph it was still essentially a 1950s newspaper in every sense: The Times, on the other hand, had been taken over by big international capital (another Canadian "Beaverbrook clone", I guess, Lord Thomson) in 1966, and - risible though such claims seem today compared to what's happened since, just like the idea, widely believed in the middle classes at the time, that ITV in the 1970s was as downmarket as television could get in Britain - there was quite a lot of controversy among the paper's old guard that it was, in the latterday terminology, "dumbing down" (I might email Richard Williams at the Guardian about this: he'd probably have some inside stories, seeing how he was just about the first person at the Times to write seriously about pop/rock, c. 1970), though really all it was doing was finally prioritising news over old-elite social networking (under Murdoch you could say it has prioritised *new*-elite social networking over news, keeping Blairmass up to date with Bushite developments, and subtly propagandising for their adoption here, rather than publishing details of brigadiers' funerals and hunt balls in the shires and having small ads on the front page). Although it had retrenched somewhat - in 1970/71 it regularly covered what Sandy Denny was up to, but it did not even consider her worthy of an obituary in 1978, and while she was referred to by her first name in live reviews, as late as 1982 R Williams was forced to refer to "the Misses Holland and St John" in a live review of Virginia Astley's first lot, The Ravishing Beauties (imagine! "The Misses"! In 1982!) - it had still had a trial run for what was to follow. Murdoch actually took it over c. February/March 1981, five years before Black acquired the Torygraph and indeed earlier than you'd think. Naturally I agree with what Mat says about the fate of the British press and the death of genuine dissent (c.f. that "in defence of celebrity culture" puff piece trailed on the front of Thursday's Guardian). The most important thing to remember here is that both the Times and Telegraph supported EEC entry when Heath took us in (and arguably the Telegraph was more pro-European then than any newspaper is today: not only was it politically supportive, but its arts/cultural coverage was based entirely around the European arts rather than US-derived pop culture, which no newspaper, not even the most politically pro-EU, would *dare* to do today - by the same token, Peter Hitchens is not only, on the whole, politically accurate when he says that the most fervent opponents of the Iraq business have been old-fashioned Tories, but he could also go on to say that such people still, at times, walk it culturally like they talk it politically on the subject of supposed "American imperialism", which the anti-war Left almost never do).

But of course it is true that "the European project" is a nebulous thing. I just believe that we *can* make something out of it. Those who accuse me of being too vague on the matter are wholly justified.

E10's last post is excellent. I cringe when I look back at some of my earlier postings on here: I was too aggressive, not mature in my arguments. But then I was far, far *spiritually* younger then than now: maybe my maturity has impaired my appreciation of new pop music, but it's sure as fuck helped my handling of rational argument.

[ 23.02.2007, 23:06: Message edited by: Robin Carmody ]

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Robin Carmody
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And re. ZZ's (absolutely accurate) post about the politics of 60s pop (and especially the importance of offshore radio) I wrote a long piece last year which basically makes the same point at FAR FAR greater length. It would be online by now if the people who run http://www.transdiffusion.org/rmc had updated the way they manage their site quicker. Anyone here want to read it, PM me.
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Spearmint Rhino
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quote:
Spearmint: you're not the first to have imagined me to be far older than I am. But did you think that because I know my post-war history (for which I won't apologise) or because I possibly come over as something of a young fogey (which maybe I am, but I try to fight it)?
Oh, the latter, really. Plus the fact that you frequently claim to 'remember' Melody Maker articles which you'd have had to be a ridiculously young MM reader (like, aged 9 or something) to recall.
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Robin Carmody
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Well, that's Discovered Memory Syndrome. I have a lot of MMs *now* which predate my readership of it. And sometimes I say "remember" when I mean "have come to retrospectively appreciate". Wrong of me, of course, but you get lost in things sometimes.

As I say, just because I'm not a class warrior doesn't make me a young fogey. I've hated the *real* young fogeys (the Britpoppers *proudly* living in better men's shadows, the scrubbed and castrated Westlifes of this world, and all the others) for years. I think maybe I suffer from a desire to stick to established form, whether in terms of sentence/linguistic organisation and structure or in other cultural/behavioural respects (having Asperger's Syndrome that rather goes with the territory: AS brings on a desire for routine, getting things obsessively *right*, a kind of internal literal-conservatism). But I'm not *proud* of this: I try my hardest to break it down. I just don't think that elevating pop culture to the level of Unquestioned God is "rebellious" anymore, and I think opposition to the old British elite, while undeniably cathartic and important for many, is a smokescreen which puts people off the scent of the real evils of our time (that is something I probably wouldn't think if I had been born in 1960, let alone earlier). But, for the record, I agree with you far more often than not.

[ 24.02.2007, 00:00: Message edited by: Robin Carmody ]

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Gas Filled Dolphin Carcass
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Top thread this.

And as a bonus, I can't explain why but this:

quote:
Just to inform younger readers of the actual critical reaction Loveless got at the time of its release:

In Melody Maker Reynolds was disappointed by it, felt it wasn't a big enough quantum leap from Isn't Anything and that it should all have sounded like track three on side one.

In the NME Dele Fadele criticised them for not using the record to speak out against apartheid in South Africa, eighteen months after Mandela's release.

No doubt this is the kind of sober response Morley would prefer us to pursue.

is the funniest thing I've read on here in ages.
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Gas Filled Dolphin Carcass
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But admittedly, I did tie one on at 6pm.
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Spearmint Rhino
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I met Dele Fadele the other night. He was on crutches.
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Gas Filled Dolphin Carcass
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The GLC bumped into Dele a couple of days ago in town. He was on crutches because he'd just been run over by a bus. It's now the fifth time he's been run over by a bus.
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Gas Filled Dolphin Carcass
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Woah. Cross post.
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Diggedy Derek
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Ah man, hope he's OK. He used to come in a daily basis when I worked at Music and Video Exchange to sell whatever had come thought the post that day. One of those characters you felt spent much too much time around the shops.
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Purves Grundy
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Wow, what a thread. My head's spinning. I'm going to have to reread the whole lot, I can tell.
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Spearmint Rhino
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Fifth time he's been run over by a bus?! Christ, he's like the punchline to that man-struck-by-lightning joke.

He said he's gonna be fine - he was only using one crutch, and a couple of days earlier he was on two.

The previous time I saw him (at Koko), he was apologising for what he'd said to me the time before that (in one of the MVE shops): "We always used to laugh at you for being into hip hop."

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Gas Filled Dolphin Carcass
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I like Dele.

I love the fact that he still ends up reviewing the odd album for NME by just sneaking in at night and writing it because Highlander Connor Macleod hasn't got the nerve to tell him he got fired about five years ago.

He's bracing company down the pub and no mistake.

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Robin Carmody
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He was one of the few reasons to read the NME in the otherwise horrific mid-1990s.

Thinking back to ZZ's earlier question of why the mid-60s and the punk era are both still used as yardsticks for anything that follows and as excuses (even among writers who don't remember them, often) to question the legitimacy of subsequent developments, I think it's partially because they both appeal to a very simplistic, basic, entry-level version of what in other online circles is sometimes referred to as "carmodising" (yes, it's after who you think it is), namely the reading of pop trends as associated with, and representative of, wider social events. So with the mid-60s (beginning with Beatlemania, ending with the Marine Offences Act) pop's explosion can be associated with Wilson, optimism, putative egalitarianism, seemingly throwing off the dusty norms of the 50s, the birth of British technocracy, and so on, while punk can be linked to the other side: the decay of the Callaghan government, the slow death of consensus politics, the IMF loan, IRA bombs in London, strikes, the whole litany of those Saatchi & Saatchi Tory PPBs.

Also, in what Spearmint used to call Rock History: The Accepted Version, they're both seen as booms after lulls (teenbeat / post-Army Elvis and the death of glam / prog getting ridiculous respectively).

In the case of the mid-60s it helps that a disproprotionately large number of people were at pop's most impressionable age then. Part of the reason for what appeared to some as the apparent nothingness of the early 90s, musically, might be that fewer people were at that age than at any other time in the pop/rock era; by the time of Britpop (for all its innumberable faults) we were living through the aftereffects of the upturn in the birth rate at the end of the 70s.

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