“For every bloke pulling a pint, there’s about 10,000 journalists writing an article about it.”
The Salford wisdom of Mark E Smith – it’s logic that when stretched suggests a greater ratio of bar staff to bloggers. 1 : 100,000, maybe. Or 1 : 1,000,000
The proliferation of words about music is one reason why this blog doesn’t concern itself with records lived, loved and cried to.
(Ignore for the moment that ongoing subject matter will more-than-occasionally contradict the previous sentence; or that my paragraphs will forever be liberally affixed to Morrissey quotation and obtuse references to Clinic’s sublime “Monkey On Your Back” – that’s what I do).
There are already hundreds of corners of the internet ripe with articulate, dexterous, cutting, moving words, spun about beat combos that may or may not have grazed the hit parade back in 1993. Websites whose curatorial sharpness is upheld by those with a passionate, even obsessive relationship with vinyl, and can quote obscure Billy Bragg lyrics upon request, know which huge-selling soul singer performed backing vocals on “Young Americans” without looking it up (Luther Vandross, since you ask), and to whom once, in a darkened club, Tracy Tracy of the Primitives volunteered her home phone number.
(These people will also know – instinctively – why this blog is called what it is, be able to reel off the track listing of both UK and US releases, and explain in snappy detail why Sonic Boom was the driving force behind Spacemen 3, not the guy who went on to shift far more units. A sentiment that I strongly disagree with, of course, but that’s a debate for another day).
All of which may be a strange and spiralling admission for a blog that isn’t really about anything save for music, cinema, literature, socio-culture and scurrilous, savagely unfair, potentially libellous remarks directed towards that halfwit on the TV (you know, all mouth and literally no trousers).
Neither is this an attempt to drive away traffic (by all means go trawling for the wealth of wonderful music blogging out there – but only once you’ve finished reading this, okay? And you have to promise to come back for my next post. It’ll probably be about some obscure 80’s shoegaze band that you’ll really, really dig).
No; I think that what I’m trying to say is that writing about music from the heart is strangely difficult, and I genuinely admire those who can do it with panache. I’ve always found word construction around songs that move me to be… well, a little diffuse; that there’s something Through the Looking Glass to the relationship between a song’s immediacy – it’s gravitational pull – and any corresponding breakdown in prose.
I genuinely can’t rationalise why the opening riffs of Suede’s “Animal Nitrate” still make the hairs on the nape of my neck stand erect, even after all these years.
I don’t know why I’m moved by “Faster” but no other Manics record, why Can are great and Faust less so, why I much prefer Sandie Shaw’s French-language album to those sung in English, why The Troggs (and not The Seeds or The Pretty Things or The Thirteenth-Floor Elevators) are the greatest critically under-appreciated band of the 60’s…
But what I do know is that, whatever these records do, I’m thrilled that they do it.