Wednesday, 14 January 2009


I copied this into my hotmail account while switching computers recently.

Dunno if this is illegal/impolite, but I think this kind of thing bears repeating as often and as vigorously as possible. It's from a Simon Reynolds interview around the time of his book on post-punk. Sums up a lot of things ...

'At the same time, though, I see post-punk in some ways as a continuation of the '60's -- that idea is there in the book a bit, but it's more and more on my mind. Punk and post-punk are part of the idea of youth as vanguard that was illustrated in the '60's, although obviously, there's an internecine war within that vanguard with the generation before. But it's all one thing: the whole idea of music as this incredibly serious thing, records as statements, records as something you tell the time by, zeitgeist stuff, seriousness, the lack of irony, the non-retro-ness. It's all one block of time and I always feel that the '60's start to end in the '80's.

More and more, I see that the '80's is when the post-punk vanguard either sells out or goes totally marginal and also when the original '60's people start selling out. You look at what Peter Gabriel did in the '80's -- he completely abandons all that proggy, dressing-up-in-costumes stuff and does this slick soul. Or Steve Winwood. He remakes himself as a modern soul singer. It's as if he's going back to being what he was originally: a Mod, imitating black people. So, it's as if the mid-'80's is the time when all that ends. Obviously, it's not as neat as that because you have alternative rock and you have grunge and you have the echoes of, or the return of, rebellion -- the return of punk as grunge, for instance. You have rave, which has an almost postmodern echo of the '60's -- the summer of love, and all that sort of thing.

So, these things never go away completely and there's always squatland and there are always people trying to live outside of society. There's still bohemia. Nothing is as clear-cut as that, but in the book I wanted to boost post-punk and claim too much for it and the way to do that was to set it against the '60's. Nevertheless, I think post-punk has more in common with the '60's than music today has with post-punk. Post-punk still had a tremendous seriousness, a tremendous conviction that music had power or that it could change the world. And it was pre-irony, it was pre-retro culture. But, of course, it's complicated. Pop time is very complicated. You can divide it up in all these different ways. It's not like irony and retro rule everything now. There are still people who are very passionate about music and who are totally unironic and probably believe it has all this power to do things, but they seem more and more marginalized.'

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