Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Perky Suck-Merchants And Shouty Ass-Clowns

Mein Gott, the internet is astonishingly depressing at the moment - lots of people hauling out old copies of Stalingrad to mine for historical atrocities, with the explicit aim of shouting No, YOU are more of a Nazi at people they've never met.

Well, I'm almost Godwinned out, but it occurs to me that there's one obvious gang of megafuhrers that have so far escaped the attention of the blog-world's amateur Weisenthals - and that's Britpop bands.

I note this because Auteurs and Black Box Recorder musician Luke Haines has released a book casting some much-deserved and long-overdue calumny over the Britpop era.

For furriners, Britpop was a hugely annoying national circlejerk in the 1990s, during which the streets of Scotland filled with parka-clad wannabe-wide-boys, shouting at each other in affected Mancunian accents about their favourite model of moped. The nation's record companies and media, smelling money in the air, jumped in with both feet and before we knew where we were, we were knee-deep in posing, preening Nathan Barley bastards bleating out half-arsed Kinks rip-offs.

It wasn't all bad, of course, as the movement's leading lights - Blur, Oasis, Pulp, Supergrass and Elastica (at a push) - could all scrape together about an album's worth of good songs. The fashion may have made guys look like Animal from the Muppets after a week on the Buckfast, but it was pretty fetching on teenage girls*. And, I suppose, it introduced a lot of people to a lot of great bands they'd never have heard of if Noel Gallacher hadn't mentioned them.

The problem was the same as the Seattle thing before it - a shower of gurning no-marks and flick-haired shitehawks rode the coattails of the stars into the national consciousness with predictably horrific results. One of the few things I'm grateful to Tony Blair and New Labour for is that their attempt to jump on the Britpop bandwagon caused it to instantly crash and burn.

To those a little older or younger than I, this entire passage of musical criminology probably passed you by. Certainly, I can't recall the last time anyone tried to lend me a Shed Seven album, but back in 1996 I was beating the bloody things away with a tennis racquet... So, as small service to pop justice, let us expose these perky suck-merchants to the glare of posterity. To musical Hell with you, shouty ass-clowns!

*I was eighteen at the time, before you say anything. These days, I'm more into rattly-bumping with dirty grannies.


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