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Ahem, I have a copy of Rip It Up ... on the bookshelf which I still haven't got around to reading after a year.Hmm, his blog is okay I suppose, but erm, Ian Penman's blog is better, especially when he starts ranting about stuff on the telly.Plus, Simes gave a namecheck to a certain Rockmother when that bloke out of World Of Twist died ... http://blissout.blogspot.com/2006_08_01_blissout_archive.html#115506006387965211I was going to mention it at the time but it might have seemed like arselicking. It probably still does seem like arselicking, actually.
I take it all back Betty - he's evidently a diamond geezer and I shan't be so ungrateful in future when Oxbridge types of his calliper are generous enough to sacrifice so much of their time explaining to dullards like me what pop music means. I appreciate now that he isn't doing this for his own benefit and has no doubt turned down a lucrative position in the City in order to drag witless oiks like yours truly out of the mire of their cultural ignorance. I will be sending both Simon and Jon Savage the complete recorded works of The Gap Band by way of acknowledgement for their tireless efforts on behalf of the ignorant music consumer. You know, I just feel that music's a very personal journey we all take - you *are* your music and book collection, you *know* the records in a private and very deeply personal way and they are like landmarks on your journey through life. Fine if people can shed some illumination on things you like (or turn you onto stuff you didn't like before) - most of the books I have read are about music in any case. But I thoroughly reject the idea of this cultural commentator-led hierarchy where someone who has been taught to rip organically creative things apart and feels that any other opinion on (what is, quite frankly, one of the most nerdy, trainspotter-y eras of pop history any way) is not as valuable as theirs.Interesting that the music he prefers to write about is more cerebral and schematic than the 'soul' music he seems to dislike. In case anyone out there is wondering, it is possible to write critically and informatively about emotionally involving music - as anyone who's read Ian MacDonald's lengthy pieces on Laura Nyro and Nick Drake will attest. It's just a lot easier to write art school wank about art school wankers.
Well I have to say his response to Tim Footman's piece didn't make me want to rush out and buy his book, it had the opposite effect. He certainly has a right to explain and defend the missing chapters in the US version, but I think he overcooked it totally. I won't be reading his book.
Well Bob, I can see what you're getting at here, but I must admit to being a fan of a lot of the arty farty bollocks music of that era, along with a fair amount of stuff that Simon Reynolds probably wouldn't care for. Mind you, some of the bands he writes about in the book - Joy Division, PIL, The Fall - can hardly be described as art school wankers.I don't know if there's a definitive history of soul, or girl groups, or disco, or house music or anything that doesn't normally appeal to straightlaced, male, well educated middle class journalists who kind of miss the point about pop music and how joyful it can be. If you can't sit down to analyse the use of imagery or iambic dimeter in the lyrics (hello, Bob Dylan), then a record has to be dismissed out of hand, or worse still, as music for girls. Who of course don't take music *seriously* enough.Yes, Ian MacDonald was a brilliant writer, but, like a lot of people of his generation seemed to be of the opinion that all the best music was made before about 1975. Fair enough, it's just that I find that "all music made after I reached my mid 20's is shit" attitude a bit depressing and arrogant and still pretty commonplace nowadays.Any road ... I've rambled on at tedious length, as I tend to do about music. Sorry.
"I don't know if there's a definitive history of soul, or girl groups, or disco, or house music or anything that doesn't normally appeal to straightlaced, male, well educated middle class journalists who kind of miss the point about pop music and how joyful it can be"Yes Betty: Nowhere to Run by Gerri Hershey - an excellent history of soul music. There's a good one on Girl Groups called Will you still love me tomorrow. I have it, so will dig it out for author/publisher details - prob o/p now though.Nelson George has written a couple on Motown (the *ultimate* pop music factory that artists like Stevie Wonder & Marvin Gaye still managed to subvert...you'd have thought Reynolds would have looked at that and SAW too) The Heart of Pop & Soul by Dave Marsh is also one of the best books I've ever read about pop music. It's basically his favourite 1,000 singles in order of merit, but is much better than it sounds. I heard it through the grapevine is at number one, incidentally.I was generalising with the art school wankers thing - but for a so-called Marxist, Reynolds was very anti-Red Wedge and politicised pop in the 80s. He's also not exactly been backward in coming forwards with regard to publicising his book - check his website which is a glorified advert for the book and the numerous spin off CDs it has spawned. He then has the brass bollocks to start lecturing us 'liminal' class people (i.e.upper working/lower middle class cultural consumers - you see, he even has to invent a whole new social strata in order to make his supposedly Marxist analysis stand up) about our cultural fetishism.Anyroad, I've pulled the post down now because, in contrast to the excellent comments above, it was shit.
The Dave Marsh is fab. Peter Guralnick: 'Sweet Soul Music'. That's quite good as well.
Must check out the Guralnick. I started the first volume of his two-tome Presley epic and he writes very vividly and really catches the complexity of that deep south experience. I'm sure he's also good on soul.I enjoyed the Marsh too - borrowed from a friend. Haven't ever seen it anywhere since to buy my own copy. It's great for dipping into, I must track it down.
I was more of a Nick Kent, Lester Bangs girl. Betty was right - I got name-checked by La Reynolds and we exchanged a few e mails about the demise of Tony Ogden. He was ok. I keep meaning to buy Rip It Up but sort of can't be bothered - but prob will at some point.Isn't it odd that we have actually generated quite a discussion around a post that doesn't exist!
I liked it.