Friday, 28 March 2008


ONE: John Peel and Tony Wilson are dead.

TWO: Jo Whiley and Mark Ronson are flourishing.

THREE: British independent music is inches away from being buried completely under a hail of derivativeness, elitism, fashion, and unscrupulous corporatism.

FOUR: What was formerly, meaningfully independent has been reduced to a casual, two-syllable advertising slogan. Indie now has (in Britain at any rate) exactly the same cache in the world of marketing as Ferrari or Luckies might have had in previous years, and is used indiscriminately to sell all manner of products - clothes, mobile phones, hair products, computer games, cars, models, lifestyles.

FIVE: This is, unequivocally, a terrible state of affairs.

SIX: In the past, a lot of pious shit was talked about ‘selling-out’; today it is a scarcely tenable concept.

SEVEN: Musical purism has gotten out of control. Contra Noel Gallagher, ‘it’ (whatever it is) is not just rock’n’roll. Popular music can be simple, primitive, dance-like and spontaneous. But it can also be every bit as sophisticated, intelligent, ideological and pretentious (in the most positive sense of the word) as any other art form. British popular music in particular has, historically at least, often epitomised the very best kind of hybrid amalgamation of spontaneity and intellectualism, body and head, instinct and ideas, simplicity and depth. Moreover, this ‘both-and’ tendency has perhaps gone further than any other cultural movement in our history towards challenging the rigid hierarchies of British social life, consistently undermining class-like separations of high and low, presenting a forward-looking, often radical, always exuberant tradition that left its doors open to all-comers (unlike, say, much classical music, opera, fine art, etc).

EIGHT: The NME has abdicated its position as arbiter of the musical underground, becoming instead an epitome of the new tendency towards childishness, music-as-fashion, uncritical PR-style enthusiasm and musical conservatism. Where once it was a vital subversive bulwark, the NME is now in the vanguard of all that is reactionary in British culture life: a beau ideal of consumer capitalism.

NINE: This makes me want to cry.

TEN: As does Kate Nash, in a very different way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Al, I think it's spelt Mark Ronson. Keep up the good work, and thanks for the mention.