Friday, 10 November 2006

I Never Did Catch Fish

Four Tracks that made me think, at different times in my life, that "you do not need to live life that way; do it like this instead".

In chronological order (of my hearing them)

1. The Jam - Going Underground
2. XTC - Senses Working Overtime
3. Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart
4. Underworld - Jumbo

I know that No.3 makes me feel that life shouldn't be lived at all; but that is all part of being 18 and leaving home & friends.

No.2 just made me feel like there was so much wonder and beauty in the world, all of it utterly inexplicable and all the more valuable for that.

No.4 I just thought was cool in a way you sometimes think when you then end up playing the same track for weeks. And months.

No.1 actually did change my life, in a permanent way. I went from thinking: "Jesus, I really have to do what I'm told" to "Shit, I really have to do what I'm told but fuck me, I'm not going to like it very much". It set me apart from a generation and a class ( I mean - cover your ears - the middle class - yuk!) whose tastes were for shit with sugar on; it made me think that because something is from now it doesn't mean it's good and it made me think at a time when everyone I knew was saying "history is bunk", that history is in fact the dog's bollocks. It also made me have the piss taken out of me by a generation so arse fucking ignorant they actually thought Going Underground was a crap song.

Go and sit down, and then return after no less than 5 (five) minutes.

Even 13 year olds I've taken on school trips know it's a classic, even if they listen to that stupid parody ("You useless bunch of fucking cunts/I want my fucking money back/Going Underground" or something).

Attlee - Churchill- Eden - Macmillan - Home - Wilson - Heath - Wilson (again)- Callaghan - Thatcher

I learned about all of these from the Going Underground video (once I'd bought it on VHS) and learned to sweep them all away from the same video.

I had to deal with Major and Blair on my own terms. Major - fine. He was a twat*. Blair - how does satire account for 500 000 deaths in Iraq? How does satire really measure the extent to which he hates his own people?

Jeez - in the generation since Going Underground was #1 (I love the #) in 1980 we only have Major and Blair to deal with afterwards. At least the Americans have Reagan (elected Nov. 1980), Bush x2 and Clinton. Then again, the French only have Mitterand and Chirac.

So much mediocrity and so much time in which to endure it.

Bring back the Cold War and incipient nuclear destruction, I say.

* - Yes I know lefty historians write frighteningly about "Thatcher-Major" or "Thatcherism 1979-1997" as if it were some kind of monolithic genius for evil. Real people, however, know that Major was a gimp and not a master of a vast right wing conspiracy.

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