Saturday, July 07, 2012

Populist Incoherence Ltd: "I'm a working class solid boy, me"


Why is John Lydon still given air time? The same tired soapbox of yore, the same drivel, the same pseudo-anarchy, the same lack of point. On a recent BBC Four documentary he trotted out the received line on New Wave, pouring stock ready-mix scorn on The Police, accusing Sting of being interested in money, of being less than a gentle Buddhist “...when there's a dollar in it!”, nudging, winking, nodding, grinning, eyes bulging, pantomime Dame played by tedious pub boor. Yes, we got the clever-stupid act when you did it the first time. You're not nineteen any more man, grow up. PIL made some good records, and to be fair, musicians generally make more sense on record than they do in person, but he does insist on being a social commentator so he should be judged with the same degree of rigour as any other pundit. The man's an embarrassment.

On Question Time he scored easy brownie points by railing against the political class as a whole then lost them by ranting over members of the audience. He hopes to be seen as impish but he's merely rude and incoherent. He likes the idea of being an agent provocateur, a malcontent, a mischief maker, an eternal stick in the craw of the establishment. His responses are always framed to show how he's a bit different, you see. Bit of an individual.
“I'm not speaking as a middle class twat from Tring here, I'm from Finsbury Park, I'm a working class solid boy, me”. And there it is, it had to come out at some point. Kept in the back pocket for ready access like a schoolboy with a catapult: populist class-war dick-sizing . It just made him seem desperately old fashioned. Which he always was. Recall that this is the man who described Human League as 'trendy hippies'. This great revolutionary was a reactionary, brandishing the establishment musician's tool of choice, the guitar, against the innovation and limitless potential of the synthesizer.

Unbelievably, and it makes me almost physically sick to admit it, it was a relief to listen to the odious Louise Mensch. At least she waits her turn.

4 comments:

Microprosopus said...

I too watched those Punk Brittania docs. Mostly people trying to sound plausible and deliberate about stuff they did instinctively and accidentally over 30 years ago. It was interesting to see so many amphetamine chiselled faces disintegrating and ballooning in seconds. Did you spot our old slum basement studio landlord playing bass in The Pop Group in the 'new wave' episode 3. P.s. I loathe THE JAM. x Lord Dragon

Nick Talbot said...

That's exactly right; when people are interviewed about their music they indulge in ex post facto rationalisations of non-rational processes. I've found myself doing exactly the same thing in interviews, and have to check myself, then I've started telling the journalist about that very fact, and unfortunately what makes for an interesting interview is very often not the truth.
Ah, so the Exp. Pop Band came out of the Pop Group did it?

Microprosopus said...

Dan C. who sub-letted us the 'Logic House' basement on Kings Square (Where all our equipment rotted with damp) was/is bass player in The Pop Group - no connection with the experimentals.

Nick Talbot said...

Oh. All this time i thought he was in the Exp Pop Band.

My books still smell of that place. My room smelt for a year afterwards as aresult of the books smelling. It was a fucking daft idea storing shit in there. Poor Bugs has only recently shifted that deathly green pallour he built up from years in that shit hole.