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Sunday, February 05, 2012

The new jazz?

I remember reading in the Daily Telegraph -- although a quick google fails to recover the link -- that rock is the new jazz, a niche, a minority industry. I suspect this is true. Who remembers Mott the Hoople, Free or The Shadows now? Of course, when I was a kid, one of the attractions of rock was that it was (superficially at least) anti-establishment but that ecological niche is now filled by what is generically referred to as "rap", although even an old codger like me knows that "rap" is really a portfolio of youth genres and they aren't really that rebellious. The songs are no longer about reshaping society but about accumulating cash, having sex with lots of women and drinking champagne and so forth. This isn't rebellion, this is aping the establishment not remaking it.

The rock rebellion didn't last long: it turned out that the goal of English rock stars, such as Cliff Richard and Mick Jagger, was (essentially) to become part of the establishment: to buy a big house in the country away from the oiks, to divide their time between London, the Caribbean and Los Angeles and to amass enormous piles of cash so that their descendants would never have to work. Fair enough, good luck to them. Although I am militantly opposed to their sociopathic exploitation of establishment status to enshrine their advantages through regulatory capture.

And as if to prove that they have become members of the establishment, they have set about pulling up the ladder. If you want to be an actress or a model or a TV presenter and you're not the child of celebrati you'll have your work cut out. Like all establishments, they've done everything they can to perpetuate: just as the political establishment were able to fight back and destroy the grammar school system that had (albeit temporarily) breached their defences, so the music/media/celebrity establishment have reinforced the battlements.

I was therefore stunned to read in the newspapers that Noel Gallagher, who was once in the Manchester pop group Oasis may well turn out to be Britain's last rock star by actually doing something rebellious.

'It was all better under Thatcher': Noel Gallagher on Britain's glory days, turning his back on drugs and the end of Oasis

[From Noel Gallagher: 'It was all better under Margaret Thatcher' | Mail Online]

Good lord. In the article he goes on to lambast Britain's rioting youth and says that he will send his kids to private schools with the children of oligarchs so that they are not forced to mix with the underclass and rants about the "de-education of masses", a subject on which I almost certainly agree with him. I never saw Oasis and I only ever had one of their albums (which was, I have to say, pretty good although I can't remember what it was) but I will go over to PirateBay and download something of theirs today.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

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