Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Loud buzz on Girls Aloud rings hollow

Pop group Girls Aloud, formed from a Shaturday night talent trek, continue to get bloggers hot under the collar.

Most encomia have centred on the apathy part of their hyper-artificiality. Kid Shirt says: “Girls Aloud managed somehow to turn their somnambulism into something advantageous because it has the strange effect of making them look deliriously disinterested in their own careers. GA as unambitious slackers, anyone?… Or are Girls Aloud just the next step in pop music's devolution down towards an Idoru-like state of post-humanist entertainment? Is their progressive de-kineticisation merely a prelude to their eventual reabsorption into the Post-Millennial Mediascape.” While Mr Wrongside opines: “Their apathy is not in principle limited to any particular circumstances. In this sense, the Girls are the anti-Carrie Bradshaws… In their brave moments of boredom, Girls Aloud create a genuine crack in bourgeois ideology.”

It’s K-Punk’s postulation of their boredom as positive that is most troubling: “GA reclaim the ‘white space’ of pure potentiality that is the only basis for libidinal political insurgency.” Though this is mostly based on the pop act (what they are told to do, a corollary to what they are told to sing), since when has this studied cool, the disinterested pose, the can’t do/“whatever” attitude, the apathetic look, been of any value? Seems like we’re almost back to 50s notions of cool – James Dean & Marlon Brando were rebels because they raised their upper lip and occasionally swore, not because there was anything genuinely alternative in their roles or lives. Boredom, whoredom, b’dom, b’dom.

Leila commented on Wrongside: “I’d never have thought apathy could be an instrument of revolution.” It can’t. Apathy is just a flipside of Carrie Bradshaw-kapitalism, a programme ready and able to absorb GA as a product and people, and though potentially “able to open up everything” (Mark) is generally far from even being on the way to the kind of progress we want. Wrongside’s Tim says “They mind a bit, but not enough” – just like everyone else, then. Cull does not have all the answers but choosing to be merely slightly different (what the look suggests) is not one of them. Hauteur will not broke substantive change. In Peepshow, perpetual layabout Jez finally comes round to the realisation that “my brain can’t make me. FINE”. Jez will never be a regime changer, either of himself or society. Apathy was big in the indulgeathon 90s – and we’re all agreed what a regressive decade that was. GA ostensibly do not make as much effort as Rachell Stevens or Jamelia (though who knows what work goes into GA’s videos and the quintet’s overall programming), but this means that at least one mogul has realised that you need not perspire like Spice Girls or S Club 7 to succeed. Just one more approach to the presentation.

The posts are valuable insights against the anti-revolutionary nature of choice/need projected onto the wrong subject. It’s a huge leap from musing on the GA aporia to connecting it to (valid points about) revolution. The bad dancing and angled faces (“erotics of apathy”) contribute to the main reason why I like the Gels Alewd act, at least two of them are very attractive and I am not averse to a retro-futurist sing-along. Sorry to be reductive, realist, but their pop proposition is simple and effective.

Friday saw Cullers enjoying themselves at modern electro do Delta 9, disseminated by Noiseloop. People danced properly. No externalised display of fantasmic images was required.
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