Sunday, October 19, 2003

More on the 1986 public-schoolboys-gone-corporate-AOR thing - my essay at http://www.transdiffusion.org/emc/beebwatch uses an analogy I'm quite absurdly proud of; when Conrad Black took over the ownership of the Daily Telegraph from Lord Hartwell, the transfer-of-power which defined the subjugation of the Americosceptic Tory idea of England to the transatlantic New Right, he had to be "more of an invisible touch than a sledgehammer" to keep the paper's long-standing readership onside ...

"Land of Confusion" in fact was in the Top 20 the week Harold Macmillan died, when there were two Basildonians (Vince Clarke, by then the "self-effacing" half of Erasure, and Alison Moyet, by then a solo star) in the Top 10. There'd be something apt about another old Tory patrician dying while the most obviously "posh" popstar of the moment is singing about a "Mixed Up World" in the charts, as Sophie Ellis Bextor will doubtless be doing within a few hours. The "patrician" bit disqualifies Thatcher, though, and it probably disqualifies even Heath because he pissed off a lot of the old landed elite 38 years ago when he was the first grammar schoolboy to become Tory leader (the way Thatcherites taunt Ted as part of a public-school elite is a nasty rewriting of history, their equivalent of the Blairites' idea that Wilson in the mid-60s was purist Old Labour). Maybe James Spicer, Oliver Letwin's predecessor in the agricultural part of Dorset where they all think we're vulgar Sky-subscribing burger-munchers round here (they're not wrong) will die while Sophie's new song is in the Top 10. Someone like that will die over the next few weeks, anyway, I'm convinced of it - the title of the Bextor song has a certain heat on it in the circumstances. Maybe it'll even be the backdrop to Antonia Forest's passing, just a short journey down the south coast away from here.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

a few responses to fellow bloggers:

a) k-punk on "Solsbury Hill"; yes, absolutely - for me it's Gabriel's best moment, in any of his incarnations, and if we're giving it a deeper socio-historical meaning that PG himself would ever have done, then I think it's an inevitability for certain songs, rightly or wrongly (maybe, as a piece of accidental pop-sociology, it's to Callaghan what "Life In A Northern Town" is to Thatcher?). The sound and atmosphere give the song its heart ... an evocation of standing just outside the community, the rest of the world at at least one remove, wondering where to go and what to do next, which is why it sounds to me more "1977" than the first solo single by the former lead singer of Genesis probably had a right to be. Its deep, profound nerves are only superficially "about" the era of Antonia Forest's "The Attic Term", HTV West's "King of the Castle", Malcolm Saville's "Home to Witchend" et al - it could just as easily fit into any historical moment in a way most of his lumbering earlier work with Genesis couldn't. It came to mind when I was watching "Flambards", K.M. Peyton's early 20th Century period piece produced by Yorkshire Television in 1978 - when the wonderfully driven and individual Christina Parsons said to the doomed William Russell "let's go home, let's go home *now*" (context: steal away back to South London, whence Christina had come as an orphan, after a long tedious hunt ball at an Essex country mansion) I instantly thought of "grab your things, I've come to take you home"; the two atmospheres seemed interchangeable. "Solsbury Hill"'s mood of crisp, frosty panic could fit perfectly with John Clare's sadness over the enclosure acts described in today's Times Weekend (yeah, sue me) and the incoherent screams and apocalyptic battles of the outro just make me think of the foot-and-mouth pyres of 2001. The good side of pop "timelessness".

b) Man Utd and England - the big thing missing from k-punk and somedisco's analyses is the Industrial Revolution, which I'm convinced is still an underlying force motivating some Mancunians' sense of themselves as somehow removed from "Englishness". There was always an undying sense that the Establishment, in the idea of "Englishness" it peddled worldwide, had never acknowledged the contribution of the people who made it rich, the industrial proletariat - certainly Richard Kurt sees Man Utd vs the British Establishment as some kind of perpetual class war, as his foreword to "The Red Army Years", a book about MUFC in the 70s, confirms (he draws parallels between the Red Army fans marauding through England, terrifying pretty cathedral cities like York when they were in the Second Division, and the three-day week and miners' strike bringing down the Heath government, and claims that the "stuffed, vibrant and uncontrollable terraces" of Old Trafford circa '74 was "down the ages, the Establishment's worst nightmare - Britain's hoi polloi collectivised, confident and courageous").

Crucially, though, Manchester *also* never really embraced the puritan socialist tradition of urban Yorkshire and the North East of England - the Richard Hoggart thang, the Old Labour heartlands' own form of cultural "Englishness" - and has always made a point of seeing itself as internationalist, specifically relating to predominately black American "outsider" music (Dave Haslam's writings are the best expression of this, always stressing how the Mancunian working class understood jazz, Ricky Spillane, Public Enemy when the Keir Hardies and Arthur Scargills who held sway over the Pennines were as warily resistant as the Lord-Lieutenant of Herefordshire would have been). And the single biggest thing separating Manchester from the socialist heartlands in the rest of the urban North might just be its history as the source of the 19th Century Liberal political strain which declined in the Liberal Party itself by the time of the 1906 landslide when the party had adopted a more proto-Labour social democratic slant, and then largely faded away altogether with the party as the Liberal Unionists were absorbed silently into the post-WW1 Tory consensus, but was resurrected as the single greatest inspiration for Margaret Thatcher and Keith Joseph.

This might just be the key to why Richard Kurt (who does at least come from Urmston, well within Greater Manchester, but in the mid-90s at least was living on Merseyside!), despite his view of Man Utd as a key weapon in an anti-Old-Establishment class war, supports New Right capitalist theories AT THE SAME TIME; the 19th Century anti-Establishment political history of Manchester, defined by proto-Thatcherite industrialists and the main influence for the theories which inspired Thatcher to crush the socialist traditions of Leeds and Newcastle (two cities which Kurt taunts as "Little Englander"; I suspect he sees them as Thatcher saw them, namely ultimately little different from the outer Shires and just as deserving of a corporate-internationalist tide to crush their individualism) allows an embrace of New Right ideas in a way that the Socialist anti-establishment traditions of urban Yorkshire and the North East never can.

Hell, Manchester *invented* the ideas of unchallenged free trade and global capitalism, combined with a belief that Everything Is Getting Better And Will Continue To Get Better (the defining quality of Whigs as opposed to Tories, then and - after a long 20th Century Left-Right / Lab-Con abeyance - now). It was the South Essex / Milton Keynes of the 19th Century - the centre of Global Kapital ideas and theories equally in opposition to the aristocracy *and* the massed working class. If Richard Kurt's views give k-punk the very strong impression that Kurt supports the blandest and most deracinated forms of Global Kapital - blindly believing that "sophistication" and international branding are automatically the same and anything more locally-rooted is always yearning for some notional idea of Britain in 1955 (or 1742, whatever) - then the role of the city that Kurt so defensively relates himself to in terms of its "global vision", standing outside the rest of England, in defining proto-Thatcherite, proto-New-Right ideas back in the 19th Century may well be a major reason for that. The logical conclusion of Kurt's views as interpreted by k-punk would indeed be the idea that supporting the Iraq war was de facto the moral and good thing for an internationalist thinker to do *simply because* the BNP opposed it (you wouldn't need any other reason - that was the basic Manchester Whig idea), and who would stand up for the occupation now?

incidentally of course somedisco is quite right that there are a good many Man Utd fans with a broadly "Little Englander" worldview; many of them would be the "floating" or "armchair" fans or "glory hunters" or whatever. Richard Kurt and his lot are the Mancunian hardcore in all senses - by no means all the long-term Man Utd fans from the club's immediate geographical catchment area share his views, and I certainly doubt whether *any* fans of the club who come from areas of England other than the North West would take that position.

c) to somedisco and weaver re. Gambaccini - when Beyonce's "Crazy In Love" was top of the Hot 100 he ended the show playing a mix of the song in which Jay-Z was conspicuously absent, as if to pretend that modern R&B had remained immune from hip-hop's pervasive influence (I have also heard this mix on a particularly safe commercial station). Says it all, especially for those of us who remember his increasingly nasty cawing about the artistic inadequacy of hip-hop - and indeed latterday commercially successful music generally - in the intros to later editions of British Hit Singles and related publications, before he and the Rice brothers were unceremoniously sacked by Guinness in 1996.
If fascist-hop is hip-hop's Sex Pistols - the force removing the essential blackness of its recurrent rhythmic undertow - then is "Get Low" the "Paranoid" of hip-hop, and "Whoomp! There It Is" the "Shakin' All Over"?

Thursday, October 16, 2003

hip-hop's ongoing defunkifying comes through again in the video for Ludacris' "Stand Up"; first chorus Luda and crew are *walking* in the most stilted parody of funkiness, the strictest and whitest movement imaginable, like they're slow-dancing to Spandau Ballet's "Musclebound". later in the video they're doing the wardance in fucking WHEELCHAIRS. you couldn't have anticipated this, not in a million years - "Stand Up" is a firm, effective, roistering song, certainly outstripping the false start of "Act A Fool" (which was all Luda-bombast but with no proper hooks to match) but I won't pretend its strictness doesn't intimidate and scare me. I still wouldn't say this era of hip-hop universally embodies the crypto-fascism of Bush's America, though; look at Lil' Jon and you can see the image of those disenfranchised Florida voters, fighting for revenge. you can see the fear and anger in his eyes; the higher they climb the Hot 100, the more I think there's something political as fuck bursting to scream loose from the constraints of "Get Low" and "Damn!" "don't start this shit, there wouldn't be no shit" = "don't disenfranchise us black Southerners and there wouldn't be no war in Iraq"? or are they really every bit as apolitical as Luda, and am I just peddling wishful thinking?

Juelz and Cam'ron's "Let's Go" playing on loop this evening; with its smooth Marvin lift it's what "Hey Ma" would have been if it hadn't been odious, and it gives the lie to the notion that "Hey Ma" planted in my mind that the Dipset are useless when they get the funk, get R&B-ed out. "Let's Go", on the other hand, is a great piece of calm between the storms.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Of course, the fascist tide of some current US music is hardly surprising when you read stories like this: http://news.independent.co.uk/low_res/story.jsp?story=452375&host=3&dir=75 ... the Bush administration, which came to power by the sort of means one might normally see in a fascist country, *is* partially succeeding in its totalitarian aims on home territory - the very EXISTENCE of "2 Gunz Up" proves that.

A country gets the music it deserves; Reagan's America deserved Starship, Heart and - I dunno - Night Ranger or something like that (not that I've ever heard them, of course), and seeing as the biggest change in American music since then has been hip-hop's inexorable move from the dissident fringes to the very core of the entire narrative, Bush's America deserves fascist-hop. Hard to believe it is little more than a decade since every move hip-hop made into the mainstream could be directly defined against the Bush lineage - think of the sheer symbolism of Ice Cube's The Predator succeeding where R.E.M. and Madonna had failed and knocking Garth Brooks off number one just before the '92 election (always thought the decline of the 80s megastars and the rise of country in the year or so before that election was culturally disastrous for Bush Sr; it revealed anew the racial and cultural exclusivity of his world and fatally weakened whatever claims he may have had to "bringing America together"). Now, hip-hop defines the agenda; it *is* the American mainstream. No surprise then that some of it in the Bush era sounds so frighteningly totalitarian; the worrying thing is that the "grimy cats" in London and Birmingham probably don't realise why it is crypto-fascist, or even that it is crypto-fascist at all.

Incidentally, I've got plenty of love for "Where Is The Love?" It wouldn't work if we weren't so utterly surrounded by hate - it might have sounded *unnecessary* in the Clinton era, say - but right now it works, it says what it needs to say. The fact that it's the longest-running UK number one for five years, and also the current Eurochart number one, says more about which side of American opinion Britain (and indeed the whole of Europe) sympathises with than a million essays by writers like me on sites like this.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

So there was Westwood tonight, once again confirming what I'd suspected: the grimiest, blackest pop audience has been thoroughly defunkified. A great piece of unwitting sociology from a typically demonstrative TW; in the nicer, uptown and out-of-town venues they go for the R&B hitmix (incidentally, Westwood's tactic of playing R&B tunes midway through his shows, with harder hip-hop before and after, is even now still part of a classic black radio tradition which created the Andy Peebles-beloved "quiet storm" concept - the slow jams would come at the halfway point, always), but in Birmingham at its grimiest they're screaming to turn that shit OFF, Westwood having to take off Blu Cantrell & Sean Paul's "Breathe" half fearing for his life, and what does he have to play in place of it? The Black Nuremberg Rally, that's what. "Get 'Em Girls", "Santana's Town", "Dipset Anthem", above all others "2 Gunz Up" ... compared to the grimy spots, the suburban cats ain't really feeling that shit (many of them are black, it's true, but they're in pretty comfortable surroundings compared to where their parents may have grown up and there's always gonna be that Supremes lineage, that desire to distance yourself from griminess, and white kids who aspire to blackness tend very much to relate to that which has always been "black" sonically and culturally - Beyonce's slow-building lift from the Chi-Lites suits them naturally even if they also have the DMX album).

But in the grimy heartlands, fascist-hop rules; check Westwood's vivid descriptions of the grimy cats up in Brum doing the March to "2 Gunz Up", every one of them RAGING CORRECTLY, responding to its every awesome stamping on Teddy Pendergrass' immobile body, KNOWING WHAT THEY HAVE TO DO, in the nature and rhythm of their physical movements well beyond the TOTP audience who somehow failed to respond to Chic's "Le Freak" 25 years ago (their actions, or rather lack of them, were merely funkless, not ANTI-funk), beyond White Plains, beyond David and Jonathan, beyond the Ivy League, certainly a fucking light year beyond the Beatles, beyond even Adam Faith and Lance Fortune and Emile Ford and Craig Douglas, the strictest and the least loose pop music has ever been, heading in their posture and thrusts straight back to a time before pop music even existed and before their families had even arrived in Britain for the most part, arriving at the Boys' Brigade on a parade ground in Alresford or Sleaford or King's Lynn or Ashbourne in 1954. That's how far you have to go back for anything as regimented and unrelenting as the march from "2 Gunz Up" which gets the grimiest parts of Birmingham (and, I'm sure, London as well) moving right now; pop music has quite simply NEVER SOUNDED LIKE THIS BEFORE; you *have* to go back before there was any such thing in the modern sense.

Hell, even the Hand Jive on Juke Box Jury in 1957/58 was "blacker" and funkier than this. Even if it was just 1% of "blackness" / funkiness behind 99% School Friend annuals / Sylvia Peters accents / the "we won the war" complacency which diverted us when we could have been creating technical education for the masses to match that available in West Germany which defined the nauseating final sequence to "Reach For The Sky" on BBC2 tonight, that 1% was still, inexorably there, enough for Johnny Otis to do a song about it at a time when Britain, from the perspective of American music, was merely the Empire they were rapidly replacing. But the movements "2 Gunz Up" drives anyone who understands it into (and I *do* understand it, although I insist that the main reason us white liberal middle classes don't usually get street rap is that we don't understand black pop which doesn't fit into the standard sonic pallette of "blackness"; I was like that once myself) - doesn't even have that 1%. And yet it's the clubs where you "don't see no white people" (Westwood mumbled that - clearly he's nervous of another Notting Hill '97 controversy) who are feeling it the most.

Listen to Dizzee Rascal for further proof; he sure ain't feeling the funk (as far as Top 20 singles by black artists go, the atonal boom of "Fix Up, Look Sharp" is one of the least funky, only marginally more so than even Whitney's "I Will Always Love You"). Nor are most of his contemporaries.

The Funk, then: in 2003, every bit as much an idea of Black Pop cherished by the white middle-class critelligentsia (99.9% of bloggers, that is, myself included), rather than the core audience for the music right now, as Macy Gray was/is. Discuss.
What exactly was Rumsfeld implying when he used the phrase "Old Europe" to refer to French and German policy on Iraq? Whenever I'd come across the phrase previously, it had always been meant to invoke a particular cultural idea of Europe, a pre-WW2 Germanic "Europe", the continent of Ernst Lubitsch, Max Ophuls, Erich Von Stroheim, Josef Von Sternberg ... with this twisting of the language, Germany's ongoing fixation with Linkin Park et al could perversely become (and this is DEFINITELY something I'd never thought of before) a statement *against* the Bush administration; kind of "we're not as culturally antiquated as you're implying we are".
More evidence of the romantic Tory / 1960s counterculture crossover; when John Lennon returned his MBE in late 1969 (an ironic mockery of the harrumphing military men returning their honours when he and the other Beatles were given them four and a half years earlier), he claimed that he objected to "Britain's involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing", "our support of America in Vietnam", and to the fact that "Cold Turkey", his second single with the Plastic Ono Band after "Give Peace A Chance", was "slipping down the charts". The third reason was pure personal egotism, the second caused justifiable anger among many at the time but, like so many other Wilson government policies that pissed off the more radical left-wingers ("left" and "right" still meant something then, of course) it seems more acceptable now because of course Britain didn't actually send troops to Vietnam (as opposed to ... well, nobody has to specify it, surely?).

But the first is most interesting; Britain's involvement in the Biafran war angered not only Lennon but also Auberon Waugh, then not so much an arch-old-fogey as an arch-young-fogey (yes, I know the term wasn't in use then, don't get pedantic). Waugh campaigned passionately on the issue, co-wrote a book called "Biafra: Britain's Shame", and even planned to stand as an anti-Biafra-war candidate in the Bridgwater by-election of early 1970 (the first in which 18-21-year-olds could vote, and possibly the inspiration for Monty Python's "Minehead by-election" sketch, both those towns being in north Somerset) before pulling out when the war ended. You can see why Waugh's exterior as the quintessential Telegraph man was often complicated by libertarian instincts within; you can also see why I don't think our ties to the old cultural order were broken as definitively in the 1960s as some would have us believe - for me, the decisive moment only came in the mid-1980s. It's not John Lennon who could never have shared a single political concern with Auberon Waugh, it's Howard Jones.

Monday, October 06, 2003

and whatever you might say about Thatcherism, at least it hasn't stopped "the Establishment" recognising certain cultural forms quicker and more easily - for example the last two Sundays on Radio 4 we've seen Nick Hornby on "Desert Island Discs" choose LL Cool J's "Going Back To Cali" and then yesterday it was Nigella Lawson choosing Eminem's "Cleaning Out My Closet". extracts of the records were played, and IT DOESN'T EVEN MERIT COMMENT; not even the Mail or Telegraph think it's worth kicking up a fuss about "them" polluting "our" programme / station. surely that shows that, however much we may politically disagree with the New Establishment, they are still a part of the 60s generation with some of the cultural open-mindedness that they wanted to become universal when they were young? wildly neoliberal economics and neocon politics (or, at least, subservience on Blair's part to the US neocons) are to be campaigned against, of course, but that doesn't mean we should imagine that the New Establishment have held something like Radio 4 in a Home Service-esque refusal to ever acknowledge the existence of popular culture. the Eminem thing is a particularly good example of how small-l liberals have won the battle *in Britain* (I fear the US might present a much less positive picture); in three years he's gone from universal folk devil to choice of Desert Island Discs castaway and NOBODY NOTICES. in the 1970s it would have taken at least a decade for an artist who caused the stir Eminem did in 2000 to make that transition, certainly if they remained popular and current for all that time.

of course, the potential ramifications of the current, first ever all-black, all-hip-hop-and-R&B US pop Top 10 (and the fact that there are simultaneously 10 country songs in the Top 50 - Bush can *never* call to some mythical idea of national-unity-through-pop-culture in the way Reagan and Bush Sr could back when a rap or country song - ie anything culturally specific to urban black or rural white America - in the Top 40 was an *event*, and Stevie Wonder's "Part-Time Lover" was #1 simultaneously in the pop, R&B, adult contemporary and dance charts) are immense ...
Simon R - surely Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" wasn't just the sound of the door slamming forever on "the Sixties", but also the end of an earlier assumption (which began to die with Peter and Gordon - the same school as Dido, would you believe, not that I like *her* or anything - during the Douglas-Home interlude, although "Wes", aka "Wanker", on the Radio 1 chart show doesn't seem to realise it yet), the idea that public school people could be trusted to avoid the worst excesses of ultra-slick, ultra-sick US capitalism. you've got me thinking that "Sledgehammer"'s processed unlistenability might have marked the demise of *two* cultural movements, movements whose unexpected links I've explored in much of my recent writing: High Tory England (Gabriel was at Charterhouse during the panic-stricken-for-the-old-elite Wilson years, remember) and the radicalism of the Sixties.

it gets me thinking (again ...) of Ian MacDonald's idea that the Thatcher/Reagan monstrosity was really the revenge of those people who were young in the Sixties, in both the US and the UK, who the radicals and forward-thinkers and all-round liberators wanted to forget existed. the New Right was the 60s generation turning nasty, the era showing its downside, the realisation that not every young person in the 60s was fundamentally socially positive and open-minded. Thatcherism was arguably more anti-prog than anti-any-other-music because it undermined and sneered at *both* the cultural bases which came together to form much of that genre; the excitement and newness and liberation of the Sixties, *and* the links with an earlier cultural "Englishness" which meant something to the older Tories she fought against and which were also influential on much (although by no means all) Britprog. "Sledgehammer" and "Invisible Touch" were consecutive US #1 hits around the time of Andrew and Fergie's wedding, pretty much summing up the destruction of two spirits (the forward thinking of the 60s and the perfected 1953 imagined past of the Brit royalty / old establishment) and the subjugation of both to the blandly entryist New Norms.

if Thatcherism (I can't speak for the modern USA) has one partial saving grace, it's the fact that its technocracy has empowered a few independent voices to come through, the way people like me (should I say "us" here?) have cleverly twisted its individualism to empower radical individuals as well as ultra-capitalist individuals, the fact that the commercial pressures on the BBC gave us 1Xtra as well as "Changing Rooms". whatever, it's safe to say that anything you, or I, or anyone of the progressive liberal instincts of "the Sixties" like about the present era would not have been to the pleasure of the 1980s US/UK governments. we bit the Thatcher/Reagan hand that fed us and pissed on them - in Britain, at least (however awful the Blair government can be, there are worse options). as for Bush, however ...

oh, I think I probably *am* closer to Roy Harper than Fairport Convention. if I could be one individual song, though, the Fairports' "Tale In Hard Time" from "What We Did On Our Holidays" would be a good contender.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

something else Colin Green (presumably) wouldn't have liked about Richard Branson at the time; the man's Virgin empire was originally built pretty much entirely on the phenomenal success of Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells", and Oldfield - living reclusively in the Marches, no old-school Tory's idea of a pillar of the community - was very much the sort of person these Tory veterans didn't want invading their territory; a "filthy" or "mysterious" (delete according to level of individual Tory's prejudice) hippie incomer, not "one of us" as far as they were concerned ...

isn't Kelis' "Milk Shake" one of the most startling Neptunes productions yet, in its way? i love the tingling bell which drives its thrusts along from time to time; like Brian Wilson's chiming bicycle bells and horns on "You Still Believe In Me" 37 years ago, it lifts a sound one might otherwise only hear on 1950s British light music, the sound of peaceful Bromley typists' efficiency (or, as my uncle once said when we were listening to that Beach Boys track, Norman Wisdom film soundtrack music), and enlivens, enraptures it.

Friday, October 03, 2003

It should be a new political adage; wherever the Conservative Democratic Alliance go (and remember that the BNP have also been active in Dorset lately), expect the basest and most unedifying ageing-Tory prejudices to be given one last stirring-up, because 68-year-old stalwart of the West Dorset Tory party, one Colin Green, is all over the front page of today's local paper arguing that the Tory party needs "strong leadership" as opposed to that of "quiet man" Iain Duncan Smith. One of the men he cites as an example of this "strong leadership" is Adolf Hitler.

Yes, really. Not as openly offensive, but arguably even more wrong-headed, is his citing of Margaret Thatcher (a strong and domineering leader, yes, but if Colin Green thinks that was *good* for the Tory party in the long term, as opposed to the short term which was all the woman ever really understood, I fear for his sanity, and her vision of the flexible economy is the main source behind the movement of younger and more liberal-thinking people into the shires, thus disturbing this type of Tory's private universe) and Richard Branson (the man whose record company released that great anthem of English Conservative patriotism, the Sex Pistols' "God Save The Queen", before cheerleading for the suburbanisation of the party as the home of Phil Collins et al).

The amusing thing is that even Colin Green apparently "praised Mr Letwin"; see that, CDA? He's even acceptable to an aged reactionary like this chap; do you *really* want an MP from the party which supports liberal drug laws, the federal Europe etc in Letwin's place? Obviously, though, if they're going to destroy themselves the rest of us can enjoy the prospect of more and more Lib Dem MPs, which I think is likely if only because they're the party that best reflects the feeling of this era; the old urban-rural polarisations and strict voting "because we always have done" have broken down, and as a 15-year-old hybrid party they suit a more joined-up, more flexible Britain. I've expanded on this on the I Love Everything forum - see http://www.ilxor.com/thread.php?msgid=3885762

I predict, incidentally, that Colin Green will be kicked out of the local Tory party pretty soon (although that will not be the phraseology officially used) and that he will defect to the Dorchester CDA (Gregory Lauder-Frost, incidentally, has now claimed that Diana Mosley "never spoke out in favour of Hitler or against the Jews", or words to that effect, a true sign of insanity). It's a lovely sight for those of us who never want the Tories in government again, isn't it?

Changing the subject totally, here's the return of an old Elidor favourite, my personal Top 10 of the moment ...

YING YANG TWINS - Georgia Dome
FRANCOIS DE BOISVALLEE - Tambourine En Forme De Musette
MARTIN KERSHAW - Morning Glory
50 CENT / G-UNIT - Teach You How To Stunt
JUELZ SANTANA - Monster Music
CLOUT - Substitute
R. KELLY - Step In The Name Of Love

Thursday, October 02, 2003

one thing to say about the CDA web forum, though; this evening I was in a neurotic mood, wondering if I even liked pop music at all, wondering if it had indeed taken me from some kind of earlier, "natural" affinity? nothing makes me reaffirm my love of pop music more than the CDA site; when I read references to "committing racial suicide" I know how different I am, and always will be, from the anti-pop fringe. maybe that's another reason why I keep an eye on these people; a means of preventing myself from becoming anti-pop, preventing myself from drowning in yearning for semi-mythical vanished eccentricities, a means of reminding myself what I might slip into (I know I've always been vulnerable to reactionary ideas when they're phrased sufficiently tantalisingly) if I let the anti-pop forces triumph.
thinking of the below, isn't it a pity that Outkast's "Ghetto Musick" didn't get higher than #55 on the UK chart? firstly because it's great, and secondly because that spelling of "music" only otherwise survives in one of the most antiquated of all British royal offices, the Master of the Queen's Musick (cf "Comptroller of the Royal Household", etc). apt, of course, because Outkast started a lot of this cod-medievalism in current hip-hop; it was running all through Stankonia but came through clearest with the ace "Xplosion", built entirely around a harpsichord loop (they're all coming back now and taking the credit; thinking of the Digital Baroque "Money" video and that track's HUGENESS, it's especially great to see Jamelia back in the Top 10). but Outkast's spirit will always be the opposite of Dipsetdipsetdipsetdipset; for them, baroque twitches equal fun and funk, and "Xplosion" was funkier (fuller, more FULFILLED) than even "Rosa Parks", let alone the live-band stuff on Aquemini. more on them soon enough ...

interesting developments reach us from my nearest Historic Market Town; the ultra-traditionalist Conservative Democratic Alliance (see this blog passim) are attempting to join in with the elderly hunting-obsessed "the wogs should never even have been allowed in Yeovil" Tory party stalwarts in the constituency (we love dissing "feudal" West Dorset round here, extension of Southampton / Bournemouth that we really are) and deselect the libertarian-leaning local Tory MP Oliver Letwin because he's not "one of them", he doesn't go on about "foreigners" every few seconds, he doesn't think foxhunting is more important than the state education sector, and the Mail on Sunday apparently ran a photo of him wearing - gasp - a *turban* (I'm sure "shock! horror! Dave and Ansil Collins are number one and what can we do? someone just bought a copy even here in Timeless Dorchester" will be the first topic of discussion for the CDA's new West Dorset branch). Crispian Mills must really have confused these ageing Canutes ("oh dear, he wishes he had Indian spirituality, he's betraying his family ... oh look, he thinks Hitler was misunderstood, hmmm, maybe he's one of us again?")

the amusing thing is that this supposedly Traditional Conservative Shire only just has a Tory MP at all; Letwin, taunted ludicrously by the fogeys as an "Islington Jew" or something equally tasteless, only narrowly defeated the Lib Dem candidate in 2001 and a rival trad-Tory candidate (there wasn't even a UKIP candidate there last time out) might let the Lib Dems in. oh, but the CDA *want* that, you see, because they want to "destroy traitorous modernisers" (even though the LD candidate elected in Letwin's place - I actually met the Lib Dem he beat in '01 in Tolpuddle of all places the day before the election - would be ten times more socially liberal and flexible and relaxed about IMMIGRANTS and everything else the CDA loathe) and prevent Letwin from becoming leader (which many of us non-Tories, along with those sane and rational people still in the Tory party, feel he could do pretty well) after IDS resigns after another poor election for the Tories!!!

there's a safe tribal war on alright (enslave the ghetto ...); more and more it becomes obvious that the real reason why the movement is broken and the party is unelectable isn't that Blair has stolen their territory, it's that THEY ALL HATE EACH OTHER. this is the best analysis i've come across: http://www.seangabb.co.uk/freelife/flhtm/fl041.htm#Comment_by_Steve_Davies (don't read Sean Gabb's own writings for that site, though, they invariably seem much more politically knowledgeable and important than they actually are). in the final analysis i think the New Right will take charge if only because they'll simply be alive for much longer, and therefore a more attractive option for a party that needs to think in terms of the long game, but they'll still make themselves hated because of their inability to admit that anything about US foreign policy, or anything else to do with the US, is wrong. i suppose i only spend so much time thinking about the British Right because i'm naturally interested in trainwrecks which can't seriously injure me.

there'll be stares of hatred from one side of the hall to the other in Blackpool next week such as were almost completely anathema to the Tory party from c.1922-90. a plague on both their houses from me, though. unfortunately, of course, the American-based military and economic ideas, which in the 80s and 90s destroyed any lingering regard for the Tory party among those who didn't actually support it, also distance and disconnect me from New Labour, to the extent that when i see Blair now i almost feel as though i'm looking at a parallel universe, an unpleasant reality i don't want to be reminded of, something i come here to get away from (the opposite of my theoretical belief in connecting with some notional idea of your country; at the moment i feel shut out, neglected, unwanted). to be able to head down the coast to Bournemouth this week and look to a Labour party leader i could relate to and empathise with ... that's the one thing i want, and the one thing that seems more agonisingly out of reach than ever.

"World's End was home ..."

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