Thursday 12 January 2017

X(mas) Factor Irony Alert!

So I'm visiting my sister at Xmas and one of her daughter's girls asks me if I know what 'Dabbing' is but of course I don't so she proceeds to show me. Right. I like to keep in touch with what's happening, of course. Then she asks me if I've heard of Honey G, to which I reply in the negative, only to realise, when she shows me on her tablet, that despite trying to avoid being contaminated by the Popular Culture virus I did know who she meant.

This girl is around 15 years-old. I feel bad not knowing her age...the kids used to crawl across the carpet towards me and I'd wonder what their names were, now they walk up to me and quiz my knowledge of popular culture. I (foolishly) set about trying to prise from her the appeal of Honey G, being genuinely curious. She smiled a lot and made the sort of noises mid-teens do, I think, which is both form of mockery and incredulity. Add to that the lack of an extensive vocabulary plus an (unconscious) rejection of old-fashioned attempts to explain as befits a post-modern teenager and you get noises.

I don't know what I would have said had an adult asked me why I like Led Zeppelin at that age...probably just shrugged and grunted, so I can't say I was any smarter than her at that age. I asked her why she was so interested in a talentless performer but she made more noises, smiling. She smiled so much I knew the joke was on me. I didn't get it. No, I didn't.

On the train home I thought about my musical taste in my early-teens, which was for Glam in all forms (yes, Bowie and all the crap), along with Trojan reggae, Motown and the newly-released Album That Would Blow My Tiny Mind, Ziggy Stardust. I made comparisons, thinking 'Oh, I'm just middle-aged and liked rubbishy Pop when I was young too'. But as I did more finkin', dear reader, it dawned on me that even a single by Mud amounted to more than Honey G (god, I even hate typing the bloody name).

You see, however trite 70s Pop was, it had absolutely no irony attached, not in our minds anyway. It was...dare I say, a pure kind of Pop. There was skill involved, even if only in the session musicians employed to play what the fake bands mimed. Skilled production too by the likes Of Mickie Most and that Rak label sound. And Slade were our Oasis, but better.

Meanwhile, today, being totally crap, as in an awful parody of Rap, makes a celebrity who gets a singles record deal. But beyond recording, as we know, it's being a celeb that seems important. This is the age of being a Celeb who need do nothing but be, be outrageous, posh, porny, rich, tarty or whatever. Perhaps comparing 'her' to bands of the early-70s was wrong. But there is a kind of music involved.

In the end all I could do was smile back at the Honey G fan. I gave as good as I got. If words aren't necessary (or even possible) to explain this phenomenon, I'd better shut up and get back to being an 'old' man seeking sanctuary in the likes of Miles Davis. TTFN.

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