Because Misanthropy And Weller Fandom Don’t Mix

9 thoughts on “Because Misanthropy And Weller Fandom Don’t Mix”

  1. I have a friend who is a diehard (and I mean die-hard) Weller fanatic who would likely a tear a strip off your hide for such words. I, myself, have my favourite tracks but find some of his other stuff a bore.

    1. I know, I know. It’s almost as if I was being deliberately provocative in my foul mood. Someone’s going to accidentally stumble across these words and, as you say, tear a strip. Ho-hum.

  2. I’m a fan but I’m only commenting on the fact that Butterfly Collector fascinates me. Old punk lore says it is based on a real live person and Weller was just calling it like he saw it with zero apologies which is kind of his thing anyway. If my sources are correct he is singing about a band whore if you will but one far more dangerous than simply annoying and always present. I like this song so much I reference it in a song of mine tho I don’t think more than a handful would put two and two together.

    1. Thanks for this. As a track, it is decidedly different in tone and timbre to much else they were working on around the time. As with japenese forms in the comment below, I’d presumed a connection with ‘The Collector’ – although I was going to suggest the novel by John Fowles rather than the film that used it as source material… but inspiration takes many forms, and the metaphor this song’s title suggests is rich and bountiful.

      Also: “band whore” – a great phrase.

      Also also: feel free to post a link to your own track, if online availability is your thing.

  3. For me, the sound of the suburbs is the sound of punk, because it’s punk with its middle-class, art school origins, digested and crapped out again by suburban working class youth yearning to be free (overly poetic perhaps but I still think it’s true). I would extend this to ‘post-punk’ too – Tubeway Army, Joy Division, Depeche Mode, among many, many others. What’s interesting about some of these acts is they were frequently picked on by the weekly music papers for being Conservative with a big C. I seem to remember Weller got caught up in some pro-Thatcher comments at the time. This era is still quite badly understood politically, but what’s important is that, like it or not, Thatcher did represent something new and worthwhile for a lot of young, suburban/provincial working class people striving for something better than the 3-day week. Moreover, I’ve always thought of punk as more conservative than it is often seen anyway. Nihilism is a recipe for political stasis. Digression ends.

    1. The politics of post-punk. A fascinating angle to take – not one fully explored in ‘Rip It Up And Start Again,’ Simon Reynolds’ almost-definitive tome on the era’s music aesthetic.

      ‘Punk’ in itself is a difficult essence to grasp – I’m wary about identifying any genre as a corporeal whole, with a pre-defined agenda or coherent ideology. I have The Stooges down as a punk band, for instance, though they of won’t fit neatly into this type of socio-political analysis.

      I’d argue that if punk stands for anything, it’s attitude: the adrenalin of being anti-establishment, pure and simple, And although the political landscape of the late seventies was both.divisive and problematic – the left riven with factionalism and disconnect – I don’t think it’s correct to identify Thatcher as a poster girl for the disenfranchised (Weller’s always claimed that his “I’ll vote Tory” interview before the ’79 election was a joke taken out of context – and considering his subsequent work with Red Wedge, I have a tendency to believe him).

      When I have the chance I’ll dig out some voting patterns of the 1979 General Election to see if there’s any demographic trend; might be interesting to see if your analysis holds any water.

  4. Weller saw William Wyler’s “The Collector”…starring Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar… then wrote his song. Maybe.
    A still of Terence, from the same film, starred also on the first version of the “What Difference Does it Make” cover before it was withdrawn for copyright reasons or some other such shit.

    Saw The Jamplay; for a full ½ hour, in front of 50 spectators… Most of whom were more interested in the übershite, french, hard-rock band that opened than Weller & consorts.

    Still have some Jam singles; which I would never listen to nowadays and (why oh why?) a good few Style Council vinyls.

    Can remember having a good laugh when Weller went on about how the french were so cool and non-racist (ho, fucking, ho!) in his espresso-lifestyle Style Council days.

    1. Great minds think alike,(as per reply to Michele Ari’s comment) – although I’d thought of the book rather than the film.

      And yeah, Parisian Weller. White socks and Mick Talbot’s keyboard riffs à fromage. Oh dear.

  5. I was going to mention the book as well but Weller probably saw the film. Used to rather like Fowles… My daughter (who lives in Govanhill) has all my old Penguins nowadays; including a few of his novels.
    Will add another comment tomorrow (maybe). Right now, c’est l’heure du souper.

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