Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Paul Morley on superb form, I thought, on BBC4's Pop - What Is It Good For? Tho could have done without The Smiths, Sugababes and fucking Kylie again...but the songs themselves were beside the point, almost irrelevent - it was the exploration that was important; the sense of wondering around the contours of some topological culture-map (tho none of this is new terrain for Morley; in fact, "Can't get You Out of My Head" has almost become the theme-tune for his own brand of pop archeology). Still, he became particularly animated when he recalled buying Bolan's "Ride a White Swan" in '71. I had a similar experience with a pre-recorded cassette (still got it!) of "Electric Warrior" that same year.

Later on, I thought: why is it I can remember exactly where I was when I first heard The Kink's "Lola"?

When Morley started deconstructing the song the image came flooding back (the garden in Wyndham Street, bright late sunday-afternoon sunshine; I'd taken my mum's radio outside; Alan Freeman's Chart run-down playing...I can see the shape of the radio, its colour, the brittle texture of its build-in speaker, the little carry-strap on top, the big mum's flower-beds, the leaves of the cherry-trees moving in the breeze...), then a few minutes later Suggs talking about how his own mother had worked in supper-clubs in Soho in the era defined by "Lola", and how the song and his life and also his memories of his life had completely commingled and were now inseparable.


At 5:40 pm, Blogger Robert said...

i can understand Morley's obsession with Kylie

i just dont understand why he insists on playing her music on the radio


At 9:23 am, Blogger Betty said...

Good to see a BBC documentary about pop music which moves away from the usual format - putting pop into a historical context, so that music in any era has to be defined as part of a movement. All those clips I've seen before of picket lines and rubbish piling up on the streets in the 1970's s with a Clash sountrack!

The impact comes from all the personal stuff - where you first heard a song, where you bought the record, the sleeve, the label ... not sure how it works in the era of downloads though.

At 11:18 am, Blogger kek-w said...

"not sure how it works in the era of downloads though..." No, I'm not entirely sure how the notion of data will invoke a nostalgic reaction in future generations...(but then again, I'm not young, I don't have an i-Pod, I don't download, etc - these are all quaint, faddish notions to me lol).

The problem is that our generation are too firmly entrenched in physicality, in the realm of the solid, to be able to extropolate the long-term consequences of a post-physical culture.

My hunch (prob. wrong) is that against all odds, archaic formats like vinyl will persist and possibly even thrive....(indeed, there's such a boom in vinyl, cassettes, etc in the undreground that I'mj ust not able to keep up with it all) long as there's artists (in the traditional sense of the word) that want to turn dreams, ideas, conceptual notions into physical objects and artifacts, then records, sleeves, labels will continue in the physical sense....

What seems to be happening is that they are becoming more 'culturally' valued right now as the collector and the craftsman effects takes hold (with handmade sleeves, bespoke packaging etc being much sought after) - I think these sort of objects will become more collected by the middle-classes (and swapped by the artisan classes), so may even increase in ecconomic value, which may become a driver for them being pushed by the major act has single out on download, etc plus ltd 7" version, plus a v. ltd 7" lathe-cut with hanndpainted sleeve which retails for £ the novelty value of downloads wears off for the gadget freaks and early adopters, the download version becomes common and generic, whereas the physical version seems novel and 'modern' - hows that for a possible scenario?


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