It’s great that a song now costs exactly the same as a pack of gum and lasts exactly the same amount of time before it loses its flavour and you have to spend another buck. That era which finally ended, yesterday – you know, that era when we pretended rock was the scourge of conformity and consumerism, instead of its anointed handmaid – that era was really irritating to me. I think it’s good for the honesty of rock and roll and good for the country in general that we can finally see Bob Dylan and Iggy Pop for what they really were: manufacturers of winter-green Chiclets.
Lines taken from Freedom, Jonathan Franzen’s 2010 novel concerning the Realpolitik of relationship (and a book which, incidentally, comes very highly recommended). The scene I’ve culled this from sees the grizzled, middle-aged rock star deliberately sowing salt across the dreams and perceptions of the young would-be acolyte (all fictional middle-aged rock stars are required to have something of the grizzled to their persona; it’s one of the unwritten rules of literature). It’s also a passage I like immensely; I appreciate the gravelled texture of the cynicism, the sly dig at Zimmerman & Osterberg (which when written down sounds like an ancient firm of Brooklyn lawyers, active during the vaudeville era). I like the zip and verve of the prose (Franzen is an astonishing wordsmith… I’m highly envious), the fact that I had to look up Chiclets in my big book of American confectionery nomenclature, and of how the sentiment’s faux-aggressive stand against instant cultural gratification – a sort of implied and anti-orthodox orthodoxy – suggests that all is well in the world.
But most of all, when considering the grizzled rocker’s words, I like – quite simply – how I disagree with him.
Oh yeah, the date. I should be featuring ghoulish records. Tracks performed by a multitude of severed heads. Bah humbug, etc. Instead – and dedicated to that fictional middle-aged rocker: a Dylan cover. Something he’d have hated. Something you’ll hate (and maybe I don’t, just to be contrary)…
(I’ll let slip the artist in the comments…in a day or two)