AA Gill, Chris Bryant, Jacques Derrida, James Blunt, Jobseeker, Johnny Marr, Julie Walters, Kasabian, Noel Gallagher, Roland Barthes, Sleaford Mods, Stuart Maconie, The New Statesman, Third World War, Viv Albertine, Working Class Man
There was much talk around the subject of culture grab and subsequent ringed fence erecting a few years back following the emergence of the horrific joke-folk of Mumford & Sons and the continuing proliferation of private/Brit School graduates dominating the pop-sphere. Obstacles not an issue.
However, the subject of elitism and moneyed privilege being an issue of from insemination to domination in the arts has been in the ‘news’ again recently, from Julie Walters fearful that her younger self wouldn’t have had the same opportunities (funding cuts), and the subject of finance (posh-nobs with Mater and Pater’s money as spare change).
There was Labour MP and Oxford educated Chris Bryant’s spat with Captain James Blount, one of vacuous electioneering shit and the other a warbling saccharine song smith. Stuart Maconie wrote in the New Statesman the days of ‘working class kids who’d shake the world with every shake of the head’ are gone and that a ‘curious gentrification of pop culture is ongoing’.
The magazine also invited contributions from Viv Albertine, Sleaford Mods’ Jason Williamson, Glenda Jackson and others with the teasing question whether our society has become too posh. Animal hunter AA Gill proffered ‘being middle class or wealthy never made anyone a better artist or performer. It does, however, allow some artists and performers to go on being mediocre for longer’. Echoing John Lennon Johnny Marr hit the nail on the head ‘it seems the establishment has succeeded in distracting everyone from their activities and agendas to the point where it’s too much for a lot of the public to want to bother with. And who could blame them?’
Picture this, Jacques Derrida and Roland Barthes are sitting in the pub, ‘The Pontificator’s Fort’ discussing the potency of art, its capacity to exert change, to inspire and signal ways forward especially in times of austerity and degradation, and how hardship can produce great art.
They eventually get round to the week’s talking points. Amongst them another outburst by gnomic gnome and Britpop motor-mouth, New Labour’s Uncle Tom Noel Gallagher has been at it again (further to his anguish at the dearth of ‘street’ music https://smilingculture.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/an-open-letter-to-social-firebrand-and-counter-revolutionary-noel-gallagher/) this week, once again spewing ‘spontaneous’ invective at groupe de musique du jour Sleaford Mods.
Threatened by the pitchfork brandishing hordes, gatekeeper Gallagher is in situ to keep them out, no room for YOU. The capitalist Mr 1% Thatcherite who’s only response is shit babbling crap music. Watch it, Noel, the systematically atomised are coming for you.
Along with obsequious system-server Dee-Jay Chris Evans and their flash opulence (Noel’s ‘champagne baths’ and Evan’s persistent bragging about his cars. Yeah, cars, where speed limits still apply you tosser. C.f. Evans caught on camera in Jacques Peretti’s recent documentary ‘The Super-Rich and Us after acquiring a car that cost an obscene amount of money, seen rubbing his eyes with joy, the sheer thrill of the chase exhausted the blighter. He can use that as one of his inane topics on his radio show) and acquisition of ‘stuff’, a salve for their egos, to remind them of how far they’ve come, from their history, their peers, environment and how they never need go back to that existence. Along with God-fearing Catholic and courier of peace and harmony, former leader of the nation, Anthony Lytton Blair these pair are emblematic of those times: excess, of profligacy, of braggartry, of a nation under a spell, hypnotised, sleepwalking towards changes wrought by whoever is ‘chosen’ to lead.
Speaking on BBC Five Live about the issue of young working-class people in music Gallagher had this to say:
‘I think’ with the recession and all that, there’s a few things that have happened it’s not possible for young working class people to sustain a music career if they don’t kind of make it, they don’t have record labels and stuff, that’s become more difficult because of … obviously because of the recession and erm, the smaller type venues and rehearsal spaces they’re all closing down now and they’re becoming posh restaurants and flats and that’s taken the space for these bands or kids in bands to grow, but,. I’m not sure there’s too many posh people in the arts, there’s just not enough working class people.
‘How do we change that?’
‘I’m not an economic brainbox, but, the working classes don’t seem to have a voice or a presence in the charts or in the magazine of late, wouldn’t you agree and the working class people that there are in there are just … idiots.
Laughing plank: Anyone you’re thinking of in particular?
‘Errr, I can think of err Sleaford Mods for one are an embarrassment and I dunno there’s some very tax efficient working class people knocking around at the minute in’t there?’
And with that, he was gone, back to his Marylebone des res to concoct more deismic shitties, another wave of cacophonous crap. His scripted, rehearsed and crony-approved off-the-cuff dig at the Nottinghamshire band led to mass knicker wetting from legions of ‘pint-o-piss lobbing mad fer it lads’, the NME cracked open the spumante cock-a-hoop at sales for next week cracking double figures such is his ‘good copy’ quotient.
Gallagher appears to have been invited on as a spokesman for his ‘people’, the marginalised and the ignored because it’s a given that he’ll put into operation his classic ‘foot in mouth’ technique, oblivious to his contradictions, an astounding lack of awareness, perpetual inability to understand nuance. He’s been led him to the water and made to sup from the stagnant pool he helped create and continues to draw inspiration from: retrogressive, bitter, out of touch and a long time spent. Now, under fire from someone only a few years younger, he realises he’s on thin ice, rocky ground, he’s going down with rhyming triplets only illustrating how out of touch he is. He’s on the defensive-offensive, cowering in his fizzy bath, the sound of the crowd drawing ever nearer.
His inheritors such as the equally retrograde Kasabian, so eager to continue to suck on the teat of tedium, a ‘talent’ that situate themselves in some kind of historical lineage, confusing (like their forebears) the relationship between success in monetary terms and success in critical and artistic terms. To wit, ‘a pig in a wig is still a pig, lads’
Gallagher has only ever backed and endorsed artists/acts that pay lip service to him or his plagiarising band’s place in prescribed history, a history viewed via the prism of money and not quality. That two-way back-slapping has created a structural stasis, a perma-yesternow that makes no dent on the present.
In response Sleaford Mods posted this on their Facebook page:
Norman Tebbit wrote ‘Definitely Maybe’
These excessively rich or bought ‘entertainers’ currently on this compassion angle for the lower classes is beyond laughable but also concerning because you are gonna always get some poor cunt who lives in Rugby with a feather cut waving a Man City flag ( no offence to city fans) and soaking it all in if ya know what I mean. Bands like Kasabian playing the class card last week? When did they ever rally against the obvious nightmare of the last 30 odd fucking years? It’s a little bit convenient to be showing sympathy now isn’t it Mr Deep Purple? And what example is the Brit Awards setting to working class kids by not having That tits idea of Rock n Roll on the fucker? What Rock n Roll? The same Rock n Roll that’s been squeaking away in the corner of our fucking hamster cages for nearly 50 years? Tricking the imprisoned into believing they can set themselves free by using it. It’s about as useful to the kid on the street as Job Seekers fucking Allowance. These people are looking out for themselves and nothing more, believing Rock n Roll to be the instrument of social mobility of gaining excessive wage packets, morose clique’d voices from The end of the century, you thick cunts, dinosaurs before their 40th fucking birthdays. And Gallagher, who last night committed suicide on 5 live, his grasp on anything, let alone Social inequality, is clearly not there and any attempt to discuss this by him and people like him is deeply, deeply offensive. Flippant comments about rehearsal rooms being sold off for posh restaurants, I can’t even believe he got fucking air time with that shit it’s fucking disgusting. He’s fucked off cos we’ve helped made him look naff, lazy and the fucking apologist that he is, and why not? Why in all this shit and consistently hung wallpaper of mind numbing entertainment carcasses should ya keep quiet for fucks sake. To keep lining the pockets of cunts like Noel who trade so cleverly on historical accomplishment? The reception to his current musical output not to mention his true beliefs will get worse for him and people like him. Fucking jokers.’
Derrida: See, on the one hand this band speak of now, for now, they are NOW, bleak tales for bleaker times. ‘Jobseeker’ looks at the minutiae of an existential existence, atavistic, hereditary monotony versus hoary dream big, reach for the sky, believe maaan, clichés. Whereas that lil’ fella, a Friday Night Ginsberg, well, his output at the best of times *wracks grey matter* was fraught with appropriation, a wet dream bricolage for the likes of us, Roland. It’s mainly a question of WHERE to begin.
Barthes: I concur, only latterly has he acknowledged how his music might be seen as protest, usually in response to critics pointing out his ‘working class’ credentials. He’s never really addressed his simpering toadying at the Britpop summit in ‘97, to the extent that what ‘are’ his thoughts on the state of Britain, the world, the coming election; how does his product articulate his anguish at the dearth of working class youth in the arts? Additionally, how do the young (like he used to be, before the rules of the game changed, the parameters altered) make something of their lives without money, without the avenues once open to him (government benefit schemes for aspiring musicians, no? The hatches are being battened down.
Derrida: A topic he would almost certainly refuse to countenance in discussion must be the horrific dilemma he faces once his offspring finish Bedales or some other such finishing school? No internship necessary. No struggle with the sentry on the entry. Pass Go, collect your £200 and brand yourself as ‘model’ or ‘journalist’. It must be extremely easy for him and his gene-pool. He is clearly oblivious to my own efforts, those of identifying, exposing and subverting the numerous binary oppositions that undergird our ways of thinking – presence/absence, speech/writing etc. He has leapt before looking.
Barthes returns with two pints of bitter.
Barthes: There is a dynastic element to culture now, ability and talent assumed because one’s parent starred in a film with John Wayne, or a ‘model’ is thrust upon society from a background of mass wealth becoming ‘iconic’. It assists in cutting out the nitty-gritty, the learning curve, the hardship sometime necessary to truly speak from within. Regarding Gallagher’s shitticisms and barely literate musings this week I remind you of a line of mine from ‘The Blue Blood Cruise’ from my tome, ‘Mythologies’. ‘Kings have a super-human essence and when they temporarily borrow certain forms of democratic life it can only be through an incarnation which goes against nature, made possible through condescension alone’
Derrida: Nice plug. This discussion has brought to mind Paul Whitehouse in the abominable Aviva adverts, my overall feeling is ‘why’re are you still plying that shtick, mate, your ‘90s’ heyday were also your imagined swinging 60s, it’s over, give it up! Stuck in a past of no return. We all need to be aware of what Plato termed the ‘Guardian class’ and their insidious ‘auxilaries’. Gallagher is an example of the elite initiate. The worst kind of climber.
Methinks this one’s gonna run and run …