It’s the end of the year, so I’ve been reading a lot of music magazines to see the end of year polls, catch up on any good stuff I might have missed. I can’t keep up like I used to: I’m getting too old, too cynical and too uninterested to keep my finger on the ‘pulse’ of popular music culture these days. Somebody had to explain ‘emo’ to me the other day. I still don’t understand. Or care. As far as I can tell, it amounts to Green Day with a migraine.
Not that we’re exactly spoilt for choice when it comes to music mags these days. Back in my day (when it were all fields round here), there were plenty. Melody Maker was king for me. I would buy that every week without fail and marvel at the quality of the writing, which was usually far superior to much of the music they were heaping praise (or, more entertainingly, scorn) upon. My own writing style (such as it is) owes a great debt to the likes of Andrew Mueller, David Stubbs, Simon Reynolds, Simon Price, Taylor Parkes, et al. Most of them are still scribbling away somewhere or other. Alas, Melody Maker folded in December 2000, a pale shadow of its former self, with elements of its pages absorbed into its chief rival – the vastly inferior NME.
The NME is actually one of the magazines, along with Uncut and The Word that I bought this week for an annual overview. Much of each paper was filled with Q&A sessions with musicians regarding their thoughts on 2006 and their plans for Christmas. Scintillating stuff, I assure you. However, it was reading these that it struck me how stupid rock and pop stars really are. OK, this is not exactly a revelation, but I’m sure they weren’t this daft in my day. Or maybe they were, my eyes just weren’t open to it in the same way they are now. I thought I’d share some of the highlights with you.
Here’s Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream in The Word, having been asked: What do you have a conscience about?
Man’s inhumanity to man. The annihilation of the Palestinian people on the Gaza strip. It’s genocide. There is murder and destruction going on and it’s being allowed. That’s shocking to me, that pricks my fucking conscience. The Jewish lobby is so powerful in the US government that nothing is being done and nothing will be done. There’s too much power, too much influence, it’s a Zionist Supremacist State – just the same as the Afrikaaners in South Africa.
Quick, somebody, give him a space on Comment Is Free. With opinions like this, he’ll be a natural at The Guardian. Then again, he wouldn’t pass their entrance exam on green issues:
Are you not worried about your carbon footprint?
Carbon footprint, global warming…
Oh, I don’t give a fuck about that. I have to travel, I’m in a band. I don’t have a conscience for things like that at all.
“I have to travel.” Actually, Bobby, you don’t. And as it’s purely to spread your own version of sub-Rolling Stones rock and roll boogie on an unsuspecting world, I’d rather you didn’t. Dimwit.
From the same magazine, here’s Matt Bellamy from Muse who, against all odds I have to say, made one of my favourite albums this year with the prog-tastic, rifforama rock fest that is Black Holes and Revelations:
You lot like your conspiracy theories about the world at large. What do you think about the state of international politics in 2006?
It’s pretty scary. That’s why we wrote City Of Delusion, expressing what it’s like to live in a world where you have no power or control. December 2000 was the turning point really, wasn’t it? When Bush was elected – well, he wasn’t elected, was he? I don’t think 9/11 would have happened if Bush hadn’t been in power. I think that was all part of a grander plan. We’re going to become a corporate fascist state where big companies define policy if we carry on like this. There are dark people in high power, dark forces out there. God, that sounds a bit Darth Vader.
The forces of intellectualism are weak with this one. Good album or not, he’s in with a shot at the Liberal Elite Twat of the Year competition this year on the strength of this drivel alone. (He won’t win, though. That was decided a long time ago.)
Over to Uncut, where Liam Gallagher (admittedly not renowned for his work in quantum physics) is talking about John Lennon.
There was a story going round that I thought (John Lennon) inhabited my body. I’ve had a couple of out-of-body experiences in my time, and this one I was in Manchester at a mate’s house having a kip. I got out of bed and all this stuff started happening – I remember getting up to turn the light on and feeling really weird, and I turned round and there I was, lying on the bed, and I sort of…fell back into my body. There was a presence there, and it was him. How do I know that? I just do, I just do.
Remember, kids: unless you want to end up as inarticulate and deranged as Liam Gallagher: Just Say No.
Elsewhere, in the same magazine, we come across the musings of Richard Ashcroft. Onetime frontman of The Verve, he released, with Urban Hymns in 1997, one of the albums of the decade. Unfortunately, he’s done nothing of any interest since. Here are some of his ‘thoughts’ on religion:
I believe that someone in the next century will get God through a number code that unites the whole universe. And it will be so incredible, we won’t be able to get around the fact that there is some kind of creator involved.
Well, that’s something for us all to look forward to. In case you were wondering when and how this tremendous breakthrough will occur, Mad Richard has helpfully clarified it for us there. It will be discovered by ‘someone’ in ‘the next century’. I can barely contain my excitement.
Honourable mention also for pop sensation Lily Allen who declares that:
For me, vanity about the way you look, that’s right up there with global warming and capitalism in terms of the evils of the modern world.
So says someone who, as a touring musician (see Bobby Gillespie, above) produces more than her fair share of carbon monoxide and, via the system of commerce, distributes her output to consumers who are free to swap their hard earned cash for her CD should they choose to do so. No doubt the considerable money she has made this year will be ploughed back into charitable causes because, after all, who wants to make money via the ‘evil’ capitalist system? Airhead.
Last, but by no means least, we have Amy Winehouse in the NME dropping into a conversation the following well known fact:
You know how crack and AIDS were generated by the white people to fuck black people up?
Err, say what now? Back to the library, Winehouse. You may do a pretty good impression of classic Motown, but try thinking before you open your mouth in future.
So there we have it: conclusive evidence that today’s pop stars are ideologically incoherent, conspiracy obsessed, new age preaching imbeciles. They might be able to knock out a half decent tune every now and then, but when it comes to the grey matter, they definitely don’t chart very high. Why have I bothered to record all of this and come to such a conclusion? Because I’m bored. And Lord Stevens was too busy.