Sunday, August 15, 2004


Is it just me, or there something creepy about Alan MacGee...?

Why, in the name of all that's Holy, do Past-it Punk-rock Has-beens like MacGee think they're qualified to determine what we should be listening to? Why does he feel the need to foist an endless parade of bad Pub Bands on the British Public? Boy, didn't Denim ever get it right with "The Great Pub Rock revival"? (More Precognition...?) And don't get me started on Primal Scream! At least Stiff Records were funny...

It's the legacy of Punk Rock, innit? The Old Corporate Punker's Revenge: Punk Rock will never die! Our generation got it right all along, see? And now I've got the money and the clout I can turn back the clock and inflict the soundtrack of my youth on you over and over again and you will enjoy will finally see the innate superiority of my aesthetics and the joke is that I'll make even more money so I can inflict even more of this pathetic watered-down Punk Rock Heritage Theme-Park version of rebellion on you because I've long since lost sight of what it was that excited me about music in the first place but I can summon just enough enthusiasm to bluff the average NME hack the next time I go on a junket to the International Music Seminar the last one was fuckin great it was in Florida claimed all me expenses back on tax the hotel-room meals and everythin I was one of the keynote speakers did a talk on Punk Rock by the way did I tell you I know Irvine Walsh he's a right old laugh bit of an old druggie like me he fuckin loved Acid House it was okay I guess but I don't like dancing much and it was nigh on bloody impossible to market it 'cause there were no real characters or decent front-men no one like Strummer or Lydon except maybe Shaun Ryder of course or maybe Bez but Tony Wilson got there first the cunt...

Creation Records? Ptui! I speet in your eye, feeelthy gringo punk-rock peeeg!

Poptones? Oh, wow...I get it: a PIL Metal-Box reference. I bow in homage to yr greatness, O wonderously wrinkled signer-upper of My Fucking Bloody Valentine. Now, do us a favour and piss off, you sad old Coke Casualty...

I remember Punk Rock. But I don't remember Alan MacGee being there. Maybe he was one of the 15,000 people who claim to have seen the Pistols at the 100 Club. Thinking about it, it was pretty packed that night...perhaps I just didn't see him. Maybe he was dabbing sulphate off a bog seat with Mark Perry. Or perhaps Jordan was giving him a blow-job. No, no...not that Jordan...

Anyway, it's because of all the above (and more) that I felt a certain sad, cold satisfaction that The Libertines (Alan MacGee: "They're the future of Rock 'n' Roll, them. Kids love 'em. They're Punk Rock. And they're on my label...") only came in at No. 2.

Call me a sad old grandad who's not down with the kids or nuffink, and don't like real Punk Rock music produced by Mick Jones, yeah that's right that bloke from out of The Clash, and wouldn't know decent music from toffee if it came up to him and smacked him in the face with a wet kipper, but I bloody hate The Libertines. Hate 'em, I tell you! They're lazy, lazy, lazy, lazy, smack-addled, lazy.


"Babycakes" is fab. It's deliriously amateur, half-baked and gimpy, and I love it to bits. SDC has been rightly championing this record, but my own reasons for loving it are far, far sadder and nebulous: it's those Graf-splattered boiler-suits. They're boss; they make the 'group' look like a rovin' gang of aerosol-sniffing apprentice painter-and-decorators. There's something deliciously out-of-wack about their whole look: it's like The Rock-Steady Crew in romper-suits. Or Clockwork Orange Juniors. Needless to say, the record would be infinitely less interesting without the, uh, visuals. And how small is that female vocalist?

I love the fact that, without the gear anchoring them to some vague design concept, the band-members don't match each other in any way whatsoever. They don't look styled. It's like the producer/manager woke up hungover and found them lying there, rumpled, like a pile of old clothes, by the side of his bed in the morning...actually, thinking about it, that's a really scary and unpleasant concept and I wish I hadn't said it now...

I get what Woeb says about it being backwards-looking and desperate, but maybe that's part of its charm for me. I didn't see it as a 'scene' record anyway, just a piece of Pop Opertunism. Yes, the beats are lazy and chucked together, but we've been totally spoiled by Richard-X...something stranger, more out-of-kilter on the drum-front and this could've been a world-beater. But Woeb's right: we should demand more from our culture and, hopefully, even as we speak, a dozen people are out there somewhere, banging out pirate remixes on laptops in their bedrooms.

The vocals don't quite mesh either, which I like. Hearing a muffled mix on the TV or on a tinny radio, I can't figure whether they're just out of tune with other, or whether they've been deliberately filtered & detuned (and not knowing is a good thing too) ...again, it adds to the fragile, dreamy, surreal, feminine quality of the song. Its Otherness.

Yeah, "Babycakes" is definitely backwards-looking, but not as backwards-looking as Alan MacGee.


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