Filed under: Blogging
So – for the time being at least – Eden has finished his big Ebay Industrial / occult splurge, and very instructive it’s been, too.
I’ve certainly learned a bit (John’s good with his links) and had a laugh too. It had it all – potential legal action from faded Power Electronics tossers, some yukks at the expense of Green Anarchist, an insight into the domestic world of the man himself…
Below are all the relevant links. Obviously, I don’t need these because I have a copy of the whole series on parchment in a granite case lined with the skin of a dead wolf.
By the way, after even the briefest totting up, I suspect it’s John’s round
Filed under: Blogging
Witness the whole sorry spectacle here
As you can see, GPO was also more than a little het up about it all.
not long after I queried the absurd market for industrial music and artefacts, John Eden has begun his account of a systematic period of Ebaying, during which he sold (and presumably continues to sell) some of his more esoteric small press stuff – anarchist and occultist fanzines and the like. It dovetails quite nicely with my bit, really, and I enjoyed this:
Occult means “hidden” and for my purposes here, this boils down to “a large number of customers who are obsessed with collecting things which came out years before they got into it”.
Reading of his mostly successful venture made me realise that a lot of the stuff I’ve amassed and simply couldn’t face getting rid of – a nearly complete run of Deadline comics, a bunch of old political, anarchist and music small press (including, yes, some Green Anarchist issues and more than one item touched by the hand of Eden) – might actually be worth something, and perhaps should go under the bed next to the pile of vinyl which (deep breath) “I wouldn’t want to take down to Record & Tape or wherever because I’d get nothing for it and I’d rather keep it, but if I found the right buyer might be worth a few quid”. IE, Shelleyan Orphan 12″s and a Sonic Boom album with a spinny-sleeve.
And conveniently, Eden has also settled one small conundrum for me:
“I worried slightly about being denounced for “recuperating” revolutionary texts for my own personal profit. My conclusion was that the downturn in the class struggle is not because of a lack of availability of 80s newsletters.”
I’ve realised that I’m finding it increasing difficult to write about things I like.
It’s no surprise that ‘positive’ writing is generally harder – I presume that’s taken as a given? – but I seemed totally hamstrung by it these days. I wanted to write a blog piece about The Rockingbirds – how much I love them, how much I feel they missed out on tremendous acclaim and success by being a couple of years too early the ‘alt-country’ thang – but it turned into some kind of wiki-style potted history. Every time I tried to write about how Alan Tyler’s songs make me feel, I just seized up.
So I’ve been thinking about why. It was easy when I was a kid. Even when I was in the more ‘industry’ bits of the ‘industry’, and thus wrote fairly functional reviews, I still had the odd outlet (bigger review pieces, contributions to Lime Lizard etc) to set out my stall in slightly more passionate ways. But now, it just makes me squirm.
I guess it’s about self-consciousness / self-awareness. When you’re younger you’re both happier to look dumb (or unaware that you DO look dumb) and less aware of what your words seem like to others. You can write your purple prose full of absurdly OTT descriptions of the transports of ecstasy that your latest favourite single ever delivers, and you don’t cringe as you do it. As you get older, and you’ve read similar pieces by others and winced at them, perhaps you look at your own writing and clam up.
It’s also, I suspect, a rare talent to write with a ton of enthusiasm and passion about music and not look like an arse. Somebody like Bangs could do it (his review of Astral Weeks is pretty much my benchmark for this kind of writing) but more often than not even he just sounded like a cough-medicine-addled tit.
And that’s why, I guess, you end up with the Mojo / Uncut school of music writing – long on references and analogies and comparisons, but pretty short on joy and excitement. The aforementioned Rockingbirds piece did all that – compared them, contextualised them, boxed them off. It wasn’t a bad piece, really, but you wouldn’t have come away with any real sense of why I love them so much. Which is a shame.
The flipside of this, of course, is that it never seems to get any hard to write damning criticism of things. Even things you don’t detest, exactly. In fact, as you get older and more cynical and you’ve consumed more ‘stuff’, it all serves as further ammunition, till you can spew out all sorts of clever bile about rubbish pop records and pompous indie goons. And for every review of the calibre of the Bangs one mentioned above, I bet I could name 10 brilliant demolition jobs where a writer has reduced some poor sod to a heap of fuck-all. At least, in the writer’s mind, and mine…
One day all blogs will be written this way:
PULP – “DIFFERENT CLASS” DELUXE EDITION 2XCD
You know you’ve become some pathetic middle-aged SELLOUT when you start re-buying things you had on cassette years ago. And so, here we have the ambiguous “Mis-Shapes”, which always had me thinking: if a group of physically disabled people went to a Pulp gig, would they be welcomed or cold-shouldered by the hordes of art students who’d been dolling themselves up at the Retro Clothing Exchange?
There also used to be a great scam going if you were working class and male; most female students from privileged backgrounds used to experiment with ‘a bit of rough’ at least once during their educations. As long as you a) didn’t fall in love with the rich bitch b) didn’t expect this relationship to last beyond the end of her degree, at the very longest c) certainly didn’t expect to get any real dosh or social status out of it – maybe a couple of T-shirts and some free drinks in a members’ club full of arseholes, but little else d) never felt the need to actually let on that you found her fucking dumb and boring and played up your ‘working classness’ to full effect, you were sorted. Of course, though, Jarvis Cocker was driven by the same insistence on truth, honesty and justice that powers this blog, and so he gave away the secret with the chart smash hit “Common People”. Well done, mate. No, you take a pat on the back, me old Cocker. Fucked that scam for good, you lousy little bleeder. Not that I’d know anyway, I never indulged in this trickery. I used to be open about wanting to spank the pert arses of the daughters of Lords and Ladies, while playing Whitehouse’s ErectorLP at full blast.
And then there’s “Disco 2000”, and memories of **** come flooding back, even down to that line “Martin said that you were the best”, which she used to go on about, as if the thing had some massive significance to….right, fuck this –
And “Sorted for Es and Whizz”, a sonic buffer to Faithless’ ‘revolution through E’ fantasies and all this Temporary Autonomous Zone shctick. I used to know this bloke who took loads of Es with his girlfriend, and they both ended up developing ‘E jealousy’ when either of them took it with someone else! Mad or what? He tried to write a book about E which was so unbearably bad I couldn’t bring myself to beg him to stop sending me bits. Then things all went tits-up when his girlfriend discovered we’d been passing sheets around down the pub and laughing at the bit where he has an MDMA-induced religious experience on a train between Derby and Crewe. And she cried, and made me feel like a backstabbing cunt. Later, he dumped her for some girl he’d taken an E with for the first time.
“I Spy” – self-explanatory, “there’s more than one way to fight a class war”
There’s loads more stuff, but it’s fucking brilliant, no matter what anyone says to the contrary.
VERDICT – Is it true the Pussycat Dolls are men, or is this just another urban myth? I heard about 3 separate people claiming this fact as gospel earlier in the year, but now nobody seems to mention it. Don’t take speed, it gives you blackheads
That’s the way to do it. Our hero also gives me a particularly life-affirming cameo in some Home-ric blog pulp fiction, which warmed the cockles:
PUBVERSION WAS BASHING out a venomous slag-off of the trendy bar “Meet”, situated just down the road from superclub Fabric. He laughed as he chugged on a Stella and verbally slaughtered the brainless cunts and slags who paid 4 quid for a bottle of beer in this miserable, soulless abortion of an establishment.
Suddenly – his front door flew inwards as two SO19 officers burst in.
“FREEZE!” the cops yelled, raising their guns.
“Eat lead, rozzer!” the blogger snapped back, reaching for his Luger and blasting one of the pigs’ heads off. However, as he savoured this small victory, the other cop riddled his body with bullets.
I’ve obviously been a bit slow on the uptake with this, but top reggae blogger / journo Dave Stelfox has a monthly-ish column called The Month In Reggae And Dancehall on the US music website Pitchfork. The latest column looks at Tanya Stephen’s tackling of the homophobia in dancehall issue on her Rebelution album, amongst other things.
(PS: Googling for the DFAH link, I also found this site, Murder In The Dancehall, which is a pretty in-depth examination of the problem, including a listing of 100+ of the most homophobic tunes, a critique of the various apologies proferred by artists and a look at the religious, cultural and political roots of the situation.)
Filed under: Blogging
fuck knows why, but I signed up for myspace. Mainly because lots of my friends’ bands are on it, and also because at some point I guess we’ll need some People’s Republic of Disco presence on there. For now, there’s just a minimal profile here