Thursday, 10 July 2008

Breath Deeper, Daydreamer...

If I take 24 years of listening to music, I would find it difficult to pinpoint many artists or songs that I liked at one point but now cannot stand. Coal Chamber is the only one that springs to mind, and maybe Limp Bizkit. Granted, that's always going to be the way with albums released. I'll either quickly go off a particular album or never like it in the first place while the rest of their catalogue remains prized. Korn is an example - I needed more cash for the Reading Festival grub fund - so their later albums were flogged. I didn't eat very much...

But overall, I've always dipped into that catalogue occasionally and got some pleasure from artists who have long passed me by in sound and scene. That casette copy of the London Boys' "Twelve Commandments of Dance" got some spins a while back, and in the midst of Stock, Aitken and Waterman's jizzlobbing on the late 80s charts, their dance pop sounds pretty good nearly 20 years on.

The same goes for those Britpop artists of the mid 90s. Though I never brought a great deal before Iron Maiden grabbed me, I've still kept most of it - although I'll come back to that later. But recently, I've been listening to a lot, Mainly through last.fm and anything I've downloaded on a whim. And I have to say, I'm getting a real kick out of it and I do think that some artists were as good as the music mags of the time suggested they were, even though they wouldn't admit to it now. And what has bought this nostalgia on? This:



Phonogram is not a comic book I ever expected ro read in my lifetime. Yes, there's plenty of subjects available, but Britpop was never on that list. Never would I have thought I would read about a central character who frequently extols his perceived virtues of Sunderland mob Kenickie.

The central idea of this book is that music is linked to a kind of magical plane, where scenes are as a result of Magical and God-like activity. The Goddess Britannia conjured up the 60s stuff before returning 30 years later. And now, she is being forcibly resurrected to help create another great British scene now with a load of crap artists. Kinda.

This is one of the most original things I've ever read...and also one of the most pretentious. But it needs to be, because you cannot think of that scene, or many others, without recalling that particular characteristic of music journalism. It needs to be told in an "up its arse" method to honour the subject matter. Which means like any great album, you'll need to read it several times. The Glossary itself is nearly worth the money alone. Thanks to all the references within the book, a back-pages reference guide is needed for those who struggle to remember some of the era's lesser players. And because of the story's present day settings, it ain't just Britpop that gets all the attention. Check the Glassary for Gillen and McKelvie's fantastically brutal entry for Razorlight.

Now, about those old records. I did chuck my Oasis CDs during a More-Metal-than-Thou point in my life. D'oh. But I have no problems with chucking out that Northern Uproar single...

1 comment:

Rolpol said...

Hmmm, by coincidence I am planning out a project about how our personal history mixes with music history....

But surely everyone remembers that Kenickie were shit, even the dumpy girls who wore plastic angel wings whilst adoring them back then....?