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Thursday, July 03, 2003  
The Great British Music Debate

Part 1

Two negatives make a positive, but two positives don’t make a negative.

Yeah, right.

And so, after three hours of Steve Lamacq and Kate Thornton and Simon Mayo and Stuart fucking Maconie and Jeremy Vine wringing their hands and complaining that fuck shit horror middle-aged crisis they don’t like what’s in the charts and nobody makes singles like what Marc fucking Bolan did (“in the old days it were all fields round ‘ere,” sez Maconie, “and me gran knew what was at number one!”) and *gasp* anyone can get a number one single with the right marketing team, we get Janice Long introducing five (count ‘em, five!) bright young things, hopes, saviours, futures of the British Music Industry © and yes yes yes the first one sounds like Ocean Colour Scene mixed with Travis, the second sounds like Texas, the third sounds like David Gray and by the fourth I have jumped into my car and driven into the wild blue yonder, safe in the knowledge that I’ve spent £120 in the last six days on music. David Gray! He’s called Rob. Some twat who heard a Bill Withers record once and thinks that if you can match the sound of his voice (like going down B&Q with a piece of blouse ripped from the last girl you dosed with GHB and then date-raped and saying “can you get me some gloss in this shade of slag pink?”) then you’ve somehow managed to capture the very essence of his soul. Cos that works. Oh for fuck’s sake.

“I’m sure you’re going to agree that we’ve heard five acts… [yes, true]… who, er, give us all hope for the future…” says Janice Long after the fifth pile of steaming derivative crap finishes. Oh for fuck’s sake.

“The future of great British music!” says Richard Alanson. And then he plays “Changing Man” by Paul Weller. Oh for fuck’s sake.

Record sales fell 4% in 2002 in the UK. And yet we still spend more per head on music than any other country in the world. But great new bands like Coldplay and David Gray and Dido and Badly Drawn Boy and Daniel Bedingfield are emerging… Oh for fuck’s sake.

I know I know I know I should just stop listening but you know, I spent £120 on music in the last six days, I love music, it’s the only thing that serves to give me doubt in my refutation of the human soul. What the fuck am I doing? What is this insipid MOR toss they’re playing at me now? Alisha’s Attic?! Oh for fuck’s sake.

You want to know why you don’t like what’s in the singles chart, Jeremy Vine? Because you’re 40 years old and you never fucking cared anyway. Yeah, I think you’re a decent journalist, yeah I’m glad that you like the British Sea Power record, but you can fuck off if you think I’m taking any more advice from you, not giving you any more credence. Your audience can’t even send a fucking text message properly then. The Thrills? Morcheeba? John Mellancamp? Stereophonics? These are the best you can offer? These are the alternative to the “plastic moulded popstars” you so loathe? Let me tell you something; they are no better. You fucking fools. You safe, middle-aged, conservative, traditional stuck-in-the-mud fools. If anything they are worse. How do you-

“Cloudbursting”! Oh thank fuck! Oh bliss… Oh heaven… This nonsensical sense, this sensuality, this strange and enfolded allure… “I just know that something good is gonna happen / I don’t know when / but just saying it could even make it happen…”

“Record companies don’t support the real talent; i.e.; acoustic musicians like myself…” DIE! Die die die die die! I kill you with swords! mark s I’m so sorry I thought The Clash could make people dance and give them an idea of how to make real, small, microcosmic revolutions in their everyday lives that would open skies for them and it would be beautiful but now I see that yes maybe you’re right and we need The Sex Pistols to smash things up and destroy peoples minds and thought systems in order to free their souls from the cages of their earthly, capitalism-riddled bodies, the shock, the horror, the escape, the final destruction of identity and the release that comes with that (but it is not mine and cannot be mine, 24, lives by the sea, solipsist, knows he needs to escape the self and is seeking his own way, can’t know the shock and horror because it’s yours and not mine, it can’t pass on a generation, it’s not a gene or even a meme…)… and now they’re playing The Stereophonics who are playing at being a lounge band, wanking wah wah on every surface, playing “The Littlest Hobo” and oh for fuck’s sake is this the future? Because it sounds like death to me oh god oh god oh god oh god…

7/03/2003 09:21:00 am


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Nick Southall is Contributing Editor at Stylus Magazine and occasionally writes for various other places on and offline. You can contact him by emailing auspiciousfishNO@SPAMgmail.com

All material © Nick Southall, 2003/2004/2005