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Monday, July 28, 2003

Holy shit. Um I didn't realise people were actually going to read this nonsense. But Mark [not Ingram I got his name wrong god knows what his name is really!] K-Punk has actually replied to that last post! How embarrassing. He's like an Actual Writer who knows stuff. Anyway he's right, of course, about the trojan horse possibilties of pop subverting the economic machinery it rode in on. The only niggling thing still gnawing away somewhere is the unavoidable elitist rhetoric of this pop nostalgia. You know, back in the day, we had real pop stars, we knew our place, we were happy to bow before the untouchable idols, to lose ourselves in the reverie, yes, yes, etc. And now, look at them, the Heat-reading, BB-watching, guestlist-at-the-provincial-club, text-messaging couch-potatoeing multitudes, satisfied with their facsimiles of Pop Idols, with their illusion of self-importance ('Who goes? You decide!'), how can they be so STUPID? How can they put up with it? Don't they know any better? It's not proper pop life! It doesn't mean anything!

Nothing new I guess; the whole Warhol-described idea of pop stardom is completely founded on an elitist division between star and audience. And that divide is being systematically broken down, we the people are the same as them, the stars. The gap closes and everyone is on the guestlist. The reasons for this are...i dunno, i keep thinking it's intended to disguise the fact that NOTHING SIGNIFICANT actually changes, in terms of the stake people have in what they consume. I mean, if we feel like we are controlling the destinies of our stars, if we know that they are just like us, what does this imply for our non-pop life? Is it just some control mechanism? Ie i hate my job, i hate my girlfriend, she hates me, my life feels out of control, the government don't speak for me, the world is just so crazy and bad, but at least i'm the one who decides who becomes famous this week. So i'll keep quiet about the other things that i can't control? Maybe...

this is slightly related to the above. pop elitism. the idea that not everyone gets it. you know? that the erosion of the magical subversive abilities of pop is inevitable and will not even be noted or mourned by most people. that they don't know any better. but we do. us. the clever ones. we can see what's happening. we can't stop it. but we can see it. so what to do? (this is wider than a pop thing; this is an attitude to the world, life, etc. abandon the possibility of revolution. we grew up after the end of the cold war. revolution is a joke. but what if there's another answer...not revolution but....escape. yes. opt out. run for the hills. walk down the street, or in the club, look at people, you can tell...some of them are like you. like me. not many though. a secret telepathic network. the people who get it. (haha: the masturbatory fantasy of violent revolution vs. the equally wanky fantasy of a a secret society of initiates). anyway get me straight: this is just something i'm identifying. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED HEREIN ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF THE AUTHOR. this escape fantasy is popping up here and there you know: get together with the few people who understand things the way you do, and Leave The World. some examples:

- the Matrix
- Fight Club
- um, that Tom Robbins book: Fierce Invalids or whatever it's called
- er, shit.
- Ah! The Invisibles, Grant Morrison 'the thing is, there's this big secret...' etc
- oh bollocks my head's gone blank. please send in more examples of the secret band of those-who-know meme popping up wherever you see it. thankyou!

also NB of course that in all of these examples, the secret band of initiaties do actually intend to try and start a revolution, change the world etc. i'm not convinced that's the point: their stories end before the revolution happens. the thrill, and in fact the focus of the narrative, is on the disengagement from the world around them. what is exciting is the possibility of an alternative but private society, not the transformation of public life per se.


oh dear time for a quick music observation, just a quickie, don't worry. this dizzee rascal fellow. i guess the most-discussed person in blog-o-land these past few months. you know what? i haven't heard anything by him at all. ok that's a lie i think i heard 'I Luv U' a while ago but i wasn't listening very closely. anyway it's not my fault! in the office we never play the kind of stations where i might hear him. and i don't download music. and i don't have enough time to sit at home and listen to the pirates, ok? it's been a hectic couple of months. anyway, yesterday, a nice sunny sunday afternoon in hedge end, doing the washing up, radio 1 on, they had a little thing about the mercury *cough*bullshit*cough* music prize. they read out the nominees and played little 5-second clips as examples of each. exceptionally dreary: the thrills, coldplay, athlete, lemon jelly, the darkness, radiohead, remarkable nuggets of utterly dead-sounding music. and then...WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT? i couldn't make much out apart from this show-stopping voice, like an angry lizard, squawking "Fix Up! Look Sharp!". that must have been Dizzee. it was like an alien artefact suddenly beamed down from space and onto the radio. it couldn't have sounded any more different, more opposed, to everything else on the list. it has to win. it won't.

i'm going to buy his album today.

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