October 08, 2003


Even though Scott has said it all.

Homegrown music is more exciting than at any time since Britpop. That exciting, eh?

Three words: British Sea Power.

Yep. That exciting.

Posted by mark at October 8, 2003 11:39 PM | TrackBack

Actually British Sea Power are OK (and that new single of theirs would have fitted very nicely on "Lamb Lies Down..." or either of the first two Edgar Broughton Band albums). Actually much of the "regressive rock" of C86 vintage was OK as well. But I do feel that us bloggers need to engage in a lot more "nowness" because otherwise if we're just going to sit around and talk about 30-year-old prog rock records/artists, then what's the qualitative difference between the blogosphere and, say, Mojo or Hornby - or for that matter Jazz Journal, still thinking it's 1945 and Peanuts Hucko is where it's at?

I don't mean to be mean...it's just that, as a punter/reader, the blogosphere these days is bearing an increasing resemblance to the Bob Harris Message Board. CoM was teetering on the brink of becoming that as well, which was one of the subsidiary reasons why I decided to stop doing it.

It's just that, if someone googled any of these blogs right now, they'd find animated discussions about Genesis and the Groundhogs. And whatever residue of '76 is left in me feels that this was somehow not the point (or, worse, you'd get our friend Anon banging on boringly about "boring old hippie hackssszzzzz"....).

Although one could argue that Trevor Horn's work on the astonishing new Belle & Sebastian album (or should that "astonishing" apply to Trevor Horn?) has, in some senses, united all of these musical/aesthetic strands together, and more subtly than you'd initially imagine.

Still, I see that Meme has labelled CoM (reluctantly) as the Nick Drake of prog blogs, which I suppose is historically and aesthetically correct. I would sneakily kind of prefer Roy Harper, but not to the point, you understand, where I'd have to go out and kiss a sheep and contact hepatitis...

Posted by: Marcello Carlin at October 9, 2003 09:12 AM

Not gonna rake over the past-vs-present thing. Can't for the life of me understand why the two considered mutually exclusive.

As for this harking after 1976, well the only meaningful watershed of that era from the perspective of today is PIL, not The Sex Pistols.

And what was Johnny Rotten listening to? Hammill, Coyne, Can, Captain Beefheart, Dr.Alimantado.

Also getting a wee bit bored of this all this criticism of the blogs. Marcello in danger of becoming our Margaret Thatcher; "Mr Major, Mr Hague, Mr Duncan-Smith, it was all so much more invigorating in my day."

And this to other naysayers: If you(s) don't like em don't read em, and if you(s) think you can do better have a crack. Do something creative! It's a level playing field.

The wars which rage in Mark's comments box!

Posted by: Matthew at October 9, 2003 11:52 AM

Matthew, perhaps if you could stop talking like a Dalek or a 1986 NME letters page editor for a while, then we might get somewhere. In any case, the Sex Pistols existed in 1976 and PiL did not. So that meaningful perspective is actually, when you look at it, meaningless. I didn't say I was harking after 1976 nor that past and present could not mutually coexist. Read my comments again and pay particular attention to the fourth paragraph.

And another thing, Matthew; cool it with the arrogance trip. Your blog is an entertaining blog and you are a decent enough writer but there are many other writers and bloggers on the internet who are equal to and better than you. You're not as great as you evidently consider yourself to be.

Personally I'm rather bored with the kneejerk if-you-don't-like-it-read-it-or-do-better-yourself reaction. And I think, Matthew, that you're capable of better than this.

Posted by: Marcello Carlin at October 9, 2003 12:07 PM

I'm no writer, and I don't think my sentiments are arrogant either.

I don't see why you're so keen to slag off what people are doing. My comment the other day about the phenomenon entering the seventies was A JOKE.

"Dalek", seeing as this is the k-punk comments box i'll take that as a compliment.

Posted by: Matthew at October 9, 2003 01:56 PM

No disrespect to Marcello intended. I've said the same thing before: "When I get my coat I won't be slagging the whole thing off." http://www.hollowearth.org/blog_0203.html

I'll admit to being doubly puzzled as I can think of no-one who has turned this form into such a triumphant success. Why pack up like this? The same thing applied to "It's all in my mind", who finished(?) by writing off everyone's efforts.

Posted by: Matthew. at October 9, 2003 03:06 PM

I'm not sure I get where you are coming from, Marcello. It's not as if the whole blogmos has devoted itself forever, and in its entirety, to talking about prog or indeed the past. Prog has only come up as a topic of discussion in the last few days, and, correct if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that the discussion has been undertaken in a humorous spirit. I don't know whose blog is entirely or even predominantly past-focused. None that are on the k-punk links bar. And that, naturally, includes CoM: the idea that it was in any way in danger of becoming the 'Bob Harris message board' is inaccurate to the point of perversity. Quite the opposite: in common with many of the blogs, its strength, in fact, was the way it provided a new context for old records, (and vice versa). Those blogs which don't do that, incidentally, are the ones - like Heronbone and Tufluv - which are entirely now-focused.

Where else, apart from in places like Deuce, is there a sustained discussion of Grime? (The Guardian blog piece was surely right about DR's hike in critical status being due in no small part to the blogs). And what of another blog cause celebre, the Junior Boys, who are absolutely pop, absolutely now, and who have been discussed hereabouts for months now --- and their debut record has only just been released this week.

In any case, there's nothing wrong with talking about the past. Pretending that the present is new just because it is now; that's the danger. No-one in our tiny corner of the blogmos is making that mistake. After all, Mojo and Hornby aren't the problem, really. NME is. It's NME, not the blogs, that is like a trad jazz journal. I'm stunned whenever I look at the cover, amazed at how it manages to repermutate the same few retro rockists apparently infinitely. At a certain point - and C86 remains the Fall from Grace as far as I am concerned - the modernist impulse in white rock slackened into a tolerance for retroism. At least prog was modernist, which makes me prefer it to regressive rock which, as far as I am concerned, and of course I speak only for myself and not from the assumed objectivity of some olympian heights, was 'actually' not 'OK', but one of the most depressing, empty and draining Pop trends ever. Ditto British Sea Power, whose only saving grace is a vocalist silly enough to give their inept, arythmic guitar plod a tinge of absurdity.

Is it worse to talk about The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, or to make, in 2003, a single that would happily fit onto it? I know what I think.

Posted by: mark k-punk at October 9, 2003 03:31 PM

Matthew you know full well why CoM stopped; you've been told enough times, on-site and off. And nobody is writing off anybody's efforts, but why should anyone's writing in a public forum be immunised or protected against criticism? We can all become better writers (even if you claim not to be a "writer," that is how you are perceived by the blog community, if there is such a thing. Communities, as Tom says, are defined by whom they let in as much as those who aim to be let in). And it's a truism - and not said maliciously, bear in mind - that those who can't take criticism shouldn't be writing in public. You are going to get it wherever you write, Matthew, I'm afraid, whether it's in TWANBOC or the Wire or the Guardian. It comes with the territory. If some bloggers cease to find other blogs interesting - or, of course, if they don't like them to begin with - then they will generally say so.

My suggestion - as a reader - is perhaps talk about other things. Talk about how Trevor Horn has magically squared the circle between C86 and the Art of Noise on the new Belle & Sebastian album. Or talk about why the Pitman album is 200 times sharper and better than the Dizzee Rascal album, even though there's not a note on it which couldn't have been recorded in 1987. I've retired now; I don't see why it should always be my responsibility to write something interesting about a subject in order to read something interesting about a subject.

Or perhaps think about why Spizzazzz and War Against Silence are on CoM's lists of links and you are not...what are they doing, where are they reaching, that TWANBOC isn't?

Posted by: Marcello Carlin at October 9, 2003 03:38 PM

Or, Mark, perhaps talk about why, if "regressive rock" was so "depressing, empty and draining" a "Pop trend," how come it helped begat Nirvana?

Posted by: Marcello Carlin at October 9, 2003 03:48 PM

With the greatest of respect Marcello I aint about to tips on who or what I talk about from anyone. I may write like a donkey but I sure as hell don't need fashion tips.

It's not criticism of me I object to. I'm no untouchable 'oly cow. I get pilloried ALL THE TIME. It's the kneejerk slagging off of "the community" that irks me.

Posted by: Matthew at October 9, 2003 04:28 PM

Or, Mark, perhaps talk about why, if "regressive rock" was so "depressing, empty and draining" a "Pop trend," how come it helped begat Nirvana?

This is a rhetorical question, right?

What are you suggesting: that depression, emptiness and the feeling of being drained are wholly foreign to Nirvana? What separates out Nirvana from their alleged reg rock forebears is their rage about their predicament; where reg rock was ahistorical, for Nirvana, history was an affliction, a terrible weight that they knew they could neither carry nor shift, still less ignore. Where reg rock simply was depressing, Nirvana, in thematizing their depression, in auto-immolating the barely-animate zombie remains of rock, made of their discontent something exhilerating, something dramatic. They tried, and failed, to live with the awareness that rock was over, that they were living in its No-Future afterburn - I must go on, I can't go on, I'll shoot myself in the head.

But I wrote about this eight years ago.

Posted by: at October 9, 2003 04:58 PM

Or perhaps think about why Spizzazzz and War Against Silence are on CoM's lists of links and you are not...what are they doing, where are they reaching, that TWANBOC isn't?

Bad vibes!

Posted by: Matthew at October 9, 2003 05:15 PM

Marcello:"But I do feel that us bloggers need to engage in a lot more "nowness""
So your defination of 'nowness' includes deep analysis if Elton John's back catalogue? Okay, so he's riding high in the charts with a 25 year old choon at the moment, but it's hardly cutting edge subject matter is it? Actually, I quite like 'Song 4 Guy' and 'ego' too, and I enjoyed your musings on the subject, but that's beside the point.
I shall continue to report on 'new stuff' and reminisce about 'old stuff' in equal measure, 'cause I'm primarily blogging for my own entertainment and couldn't care what anyone thinks is the correct way to do it. Luv to TWONBOC & K-Punk. My bloggaz...

Posted by: Nick at October 12, 2003 09:12 PM

...and if anyone else likes it, it's a bonus?

You really don't understand, do you?

Posted by: Marcello Carlin at October 14, 2003 12:28 PM

Obviously not...

Posted by: Nick at October 14, 2003 09:01 PM