Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Harrowing Dispatches from Back Home

Living in France, one has the benefit of being shielded from many of the more appalling aspects of Anglophone popular culture, even if one has to occasionally suffer the Gallic equivalents: Patrick Bruel, Alain Souchon (who is bewilderingly viewed by many French intellectuals as being a local Dylan or Randy Newman).

This morning however, while carelessly listening to Ray d'Arcy's show on TodayFM, I heard a song that apparently knocked the peerless 'Crazy' by Gnarls Barkley off the number one spot last month. It sounds like a really bad cross between The Spinners (the Liverpool version, not the Detroit one) and Fairport Convention (not that FC were bad, but you know what I mean). The lyrics are spectacularly clueless:

Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair
In '77 and '69 revolution was in the air
I was born too late into a world that doesn't care
Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair

When the head of state didn't play guitar
Not everybody drove a car
When music really mattered and when radio was king
When accountants didn't have control
And the media couldn't buy your soul
And computers were still scary and we didn't know everything

Punk rocker? Flowers in the hair? Where did this muppet grow up? Was she raised by Jehovah's Witnesses shielded from all major sub-cultural trends of the past forty years? What in God's name is the connection between 1977 and 1969? Iggy fucking Pop? The last slice of pseudo-leftfield nonsense this bad was the God-awful 'What's Up?' by the unlamented 4 Non-Blondes, back in 1993. Remember that line: "I pray every day...for revolution"? It's enough to turn you into a neo-con, though this is probably the sort of shite that the neo-cons thought was edgy while they were still spouting Marx, Trotsky and Marcuse to anyone that would listen on campus.

I can feel the withering yet well-meaning looks from the folks back home who have had to put up with this all through the World Cup. But I think I need to lie down for a while, before the media try to buy my soul. This is by a Scots woman named Sandi Thom. Sandi, stop this now. Think of the children, please.