Friday, May 06, 2005

Time and place

Morley on the return of an avatar of New Labour vacuity. And if the Gallaghers’ obtrusion of media space isn’t bad enough now there’s up and coming Manc act Young Offenders Institute. No they’re no joke, these proud Collyhurst boys are cunts for real, just like all those who only saw the hedonic side of rave (where drugs are simply reassigned into the weekender programme), just like those who make going to football such a pleasurable experience, just like those who gave Keighley a 9 per cent BNP vote. The music is cringeworthy time-stopped pub punk rock, replete with lumpen chord changes and, on their single’s chorus, a one louder reprise of Liam’s nudge-nudge coke lines. Anthony H Wilson has been making increasingly clichéd statements about “this is what the scene needs right now” (YOI are signed on to Wilson’s new F4 label) – ignorance and bad attitude just like bands used to be, or something.

Letting these scrotes through is a great example of where the BBC’s omnivorous ‘anything goes’ policy lets it down. It’s also a sign of the ongoing reterritorialisation of music, where the milieu they were puked from is the main driver, because selling it on that puts it into a niche that is big enough to prosper in today’s endlessly diversified market. They are sold as brain dead scallies for the brain dead scallies market (pop as authentic statement again) – a market big enough to allow Oasis to still play stadium gigs and hit number one in the album chart. Any lines of flight or developmental potential for the band, the image, the music are strictly a no-no, just like the entropic dead-end job. These boys could do four or five albums of this, giving their captive audience more tools with which to stay dumb. This is what is most depressing – that consumer culture unquestioningly allows this stuff in – one more product to add to the diverting noise. Hopefully, their fanbase will eventually get the feeling they’ve been cheated.

Grime in some ways suffers from the obsession with location, location – though in a more ambivalent way, not exactly vibing up a sink estate existence as something to be proud of than to get through and escape from. Raw-T – Manc rappers on Wilson’s F4 label – likewise rely on the axis of place. (BTW, I enjoyed Pearsall’s article on weed carriers in grime). I had a freebie for scouse beat act The Stands on Monday – lovely 60s stuff and all that – but here was something that was fixed by that other great co-ordinate, time.

Both overcooked reps of place and obsessions with bygone eras are allowed to prosper. What it all adds up to is an unhealthy allegiance to territory/turf and taste – all in all helping to bring back up the barriers that 40-odd years of sonic multiculturalism have been trying to break down. Of course people can and will choose for themselves, but sometimes you feel the posturing needs regulating.

Attempting to be a true vector will be our imminent club night, tentatively titled Extropia. Music will be across the board, out of time, faceless, stateless, adhering to nothing other than its own potential. Saturday 25 June, Islington. I’m bigging it up because if we’re to join Entertainments Inc the proposition had better be good. Check here, Research and Cull for further details.

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