Sunday, 8 April 2012

I Grow Old, I Grow Old...M&S Sparks Middle-Aged Musings On Music & Socio-Cultural Status

So we were in Mark & Spencers saying how good the music was compared to H&M, which had hired a DJ who first played a horrendous modern Jive Bunny cut-up version of a Beatles tune, followed by another that massacred Aretha's 'Respect', and we could stand it no longer, fleeing from the scene of the musical crime before properly examining the sartorial goods - miraculously avoiding the temptation to hurl clothes down onto the DJ who had been position beneath the escalator.

M&S played Jnr Walker, and a cover of The Peddlers' 'I Have Seen', amongst other totally inoffensive-but-not-bland music for it's middle-aged punters. And the realisation dawned, not for the first time, that we fall into their demographic, but only partly, because despite LJ's appreciation of the comfortable shoe and my desire for sensible underwear our very awareness of it all made us different from the average M&S customer, so we thought.

As LJ let off steam about loud, terrible music in Oxford Street shops, I couldn't help reminding her that if she was 16 she wouldn't be complaining. To which she replied that she would. And so we left it like that, neither being able to imagine what our musical taste would be if we were 16 now. That's something we've often discussed, but have never been able to answer as our middle-aged minds desperately scan the modern musical map in search of music that our younger selves might be into. Grime? Dubstep? Maybe.

At this point LJ usually makes the grand claim that 'We had it so good' and I reply with 'Every generation thinks that'. But I confess to also thinking that I would not swap prime Bowie, Roxy Music, Stevie Wonder, Parliament etc for anything since. Working back, though, it's impossible to deny that the so-called baby boomers has it just as good, if not better, when The Who, Stones, Beatles, Kinks, James Brown, Motown, Dusty etc were at their peak - bastards. They had better clothes too...and cars....although they probably didn't all own E-Types...and live in white modernist pads...

It's not easy being an ordinary outsider, you know - one who wears slippers and still enjoys Egisto Macchi whilst perhaps flicking through 'The Ticket That Exploded'. For one thing expressing an appreciation of 'outsider' culture can (mis)lead others into many false assumptions. They range from the political to the social (class), and perhaps even sartorial, although clothes seem to matter less nowadays, when tweed is in for five minutes, even amongst the young, and a pink mohican represents retro conservatism. The old noise of the angriest, most incompetent Punk band is nothing compared to KK Null at full pelt (or any electronic Noise merchant, because they render the act of trying to play old-fashioned instruments, and singing, totally impotent in terms of nihilistic, progressive/aggressive sound).

You might also find me browsing through the Sooty annual. Yes, I know I'm c-ra-a-zy. Which bring me to niche blogging, which is fine and fantastic when the niche fits, but this place is not about that. I'm fully aware that some folk find diversity difficult to handle, but that's their problem. What is a blog if not a representation of the blogger's taste? And mine does run from Sooty to Stockhausen. I have toyed with the notion of narrowing things down, but then though 'No, fuck it, this is my thing and I'll do what I like'. It's no way to attract more followers, but what the hell, if they want restricted content, they must look elsewhere.

Meanwhile, you, are smarter than that, obviously.


  1. Thanks for so smartly articulating something that Mr SDS and I often discuss too... He's a bit older than me and experienced more early '70s stuff first hand, but we were both a suitable age to embrace punk (how we met) and many genres/'levels' (ha!) beyond that, and then get retro too. Now we're in our 40s and 50s respectively we often say that, between us, yes "we had it so good" too.
    As for blog diversity, absolutely. It's your space and you can do what you like with it. Keep us on our toes.

  2. aaah sensible underwear... I gotta get me some of that.

    1. You know it makes sense, Garth. Throw those thongs out, man.

  3. Hey C - you old Punk rocker - good to see you're still hanging on in here. Thanks for taking the time to comment.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...