Not signed in (Sign In)

Vanilla 1.1.4 is a product of Lussumo. More Information: Documentation, Community Support.

Welcome Guest!
Want to take part in these discussions? If you have an account, sign in now.
If you don't have an account, apply for one now.
  1.  
    Always nervous about flagging up these events as they might turn not out to be any good but apologies for not posting anything about the "Totally Wired" event last night as it turned out pretty good. For the record it was a kind of panel chaired by Simon consisting of (in no particular order) Ana da Silva - one time guitarist/ vocalist from The Raincoats, Tom Morley one time drummer of Scritti Politti, Viv Albertine one time Slits guitarist and myself.

    Thanks to anyone who reads this who came down. It was an interesting and constructive evening which seems to have been enjoyed by all present. It's possible someone recorded it so it's there for posterity..

    Meanwhile I have a small spot on this programme

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00hlgh6/Adam_Walton_15_02_200
  2.  
    good advice. Too bad I didn't heed 15 years ago!
  3.  
    "Ana da Silva - one time guitarist/vocalist from The Raincoats, Tom Morley one time drummer of Scritti Politti, Viv Albertine one time Slits guitarist and myself."

    Man, that'd be one bizarre supergroup.
  4.  
    Actually Tom on various occasions suggested we should... :)
  5.  
  6.  
    haven't read the book, so i can only comment on the review posted above. the notion that post-punk was some kind of "golden era of pop" with "an abundance of new ideas...... that had been missing since the 1960's" is a simplistic and narrow view, i think. you mean to say that innovative artists like david bowie, lou reed, new york dolls, mott the hoople, television, springsteen , queen, and many others were not making great, classic, pop records? possibly they didn't have the overt political stance of bands like the gang of four, but you know back in the early 70's just wearing your hair long was consider a subversive act by some. and even someone like madonna, dubious talent at best, and certainly no "socio-economic theorist", but still she was undeniably hugely liberating to a lot of young women who heretofore felt inhibited in expressing themselves creatively, socially, sexually. madonna made it ok for chicks to fly their freak flag, lol!

    like any era, any genre, there were good bands that made it big and others that didn't, but as was mentioned were quite influential nonetheless. post punk did have a slightly more political edge to it, of course, but i can't see that they had a greater "abundance of ideas" than in the 70's. even today, forming a band, no matter how serious the musicians are, still has that aura of decadence, and for some, glamour. and i don't think it was all that different in the post punk "era".

    and as for "critics" or others theorizing about what it all (post punk) meant, i mean i guess that's all well and good, but who really takes it seriously? real fans don't give a shit about criticism. they like what they like for whatever reason. now, for the sake of posterity it's important to document each era, just can't see that post punk was better, more important, or more influential than the 70's.
    • CommentAuthorcc says...
    • (CommentTimeFeb 19th 2009 edited)
     
    "and as for "critics" or others theorizing about what it all (post punk) meant, i mean i guess that's all well and good, but who really takes it seriously? real fans don't give a shit about criticism. they like what they like for whatever reason."

    I'm not a huge supporter of cultural theory either (read 2 of Reynolds' books while I was in high school, and I think that was enough), but the idea of theory is to try to identify and account for the "whatever." Particularly for the benefit of the "posterity" that you also mention.
  7.  
    "I'm not a huge supporter of cultural theory either (read 2 of Reynolds' books while I was in high school, and I think that was enough), but the idea of theory is to try to identify and account for the "whatever." Particularly for the benefit of the "posterity" that you also mention."

    I think (a) you would need an army of cultural anthropologists to account for what people like and why, (b) what makes a critic, journalist an expert on the matter?, and (c) just my opinion but i think a lot of what passes for critical assessment has just as much to do with self-aggrandizement as it does with actual content.

    also how many people buy a record based on what robert christgau (u.s. critic) says?
    • CommentAuthorcc says...
    • (CommentTimeFeb 19th 2009)
     
    my sense was that Reynolds had (and presumably still has) some level of academic credentials. As I recall, England's Dreaming cites Dick Hebdige's work on subcultures among other texts, and it had a much more developed argument than is typical for the rock biography genre, which it was sometimes mistaken for.

    you may or may not respect academia as an institution, but it has clear methods in place for saying "ok, you are an expert" when one has had the requisite training. Doesn't mean you can't be wrong--but that's why, you're right, you do need an "army," to critique each other's work and in that way arrive at better answers.

    on the other hand, I pretty much agree with your view of journalistic criticism. It's mainly nonsense, with no research or system.

    with events like this "panel" (an academic genre), I guess Reynolds blurs the line between academic and journalistic criticism. Personally, I don't see the appeal, but he's made a living from it (I assume) and I can't immediately think of anyone else who has.
  8.  
    (wow, while I was blathering at great length cc snuck in a post that made similar points much more succinctly. I'll leave my comments for "posterity" anyway)

    Having spent 3 years steeped in this kind of thing (though for visual arts) so that I could get a fancy paper for my wall that was more useful than the 4-year fancy paper, I will suggest that: critical theory (generally) seeks to contextualize a development or movement - here, in the music world though of course in this post-post-post-postmodern age critical theory is often applied to anything - and examine its roots, development, peak, decline, etc as related to parallel or contradictory developments. Well-thought-out critical theory should hedge on value judgments, as a ridiculous backfiring of taste and aesthetics can influence just as much as the beautiful and sublime.

    Is that what Simon Reynolds is up to with this book? Haven't read it, don't know for certain, but that seems to be what the review is pointing to.

    What makes anyone an expert on anything? Research. Having read Rip It Up And Start Again I dare suggest that regardless of the outcome Mr. Reynolds has done his homework, as opposed to the fan-rant 33 1/3 series (the ones I've looked at, anyway).

    That said, yes, his previous book often read like a love letter to "post-punk". It is sometimes difficult to decide whether or not some of the bands and period he covers really deserved that much discussion, or should be credited with that much lasting influence. If the book reviewer is correct, I'm afraid that Reynolds may be taking his vision of the period and looking for grand importance where there may, in fact, have been only fleeting glimpses of it. Again, though, I really can't comment on that until reading for myself (because, as has been a running theme here, reviewers bring their own baggage to the table and can only sparsely be trusted). However, academia and critical/cultural theory is full of this kind of thing: pick a subject, no matter what level of obscurity or novelty, and expound at great length until it sounds as important as, say, the Surrealist movement. It happens.

    Ultimately (if the previous book is any indication) I doubt that Reynolds is attempting to sort out which albums/artists other people liked and for what reasons. I would hope that it falls somewhere between historical account and an analysis of what this "movement" was all about, where it came from, what it meant at the time, and how it may have influenced further developments.
  9.  
    CC, England's Dreaming is by Jon Savage, not Simon Reynolds. Neither are "academics" - just rather analytical fans!

    I'll post some comments on the Sunday event when I get a spare moment.

    Mark
    • CommentAuthorcc says...
    • (CommentTimeFeb 19th 2009)
     
    oops, thank you! ... make that just one book I've read by Simon Reynolds then (Blissed Out or something--essays on convergences between the UK & US alternative scenes in the late 80s--interesting, at the time!). England's Dreaming is certainly academic in approach and quality of research, even if Mr. Savage is known to roam freely outside the ivory tower...
  10.  
    No-one is trying to say that there wasn't great music in the 70's or that there hasn't been any since. There was some great post-punk acts, many of whom have been unfairly forgotten about over the years. If Reynolds gets some of these artists even a small amount of attention they would have otherwise missed out on then...well good on him!

    As for the critics, there were some great ones in that era but personally I liked the entertaining ones (Burchill, Morley, De Noyer, Roberts). England's Dreaming is so dull that I've still not finished it which is no mean achievement considering how interested I am in the subject matter.
  11.  
    "cc:you may or may not respect academia as an institution, but it has clear methods in place for saying "ok, you are an expert" when one has had the requisite training. Doesn't mean you can't be wrong--but that's why, you're right, you do need an "army," to critique each other's work and in that way arrive at better answers.

    on the other hand, I pretty much agree with your view of journalistic criticism. It's mainly nonsense, with no research or system."

    it's not so much that i don't respect academia as institution, but rather i questions it's findings. i question everything actually. just because one has the "requisite training" doesn't necessarily hold that one's conclusions are sound, finite, and the last word on the matter. in a different context, regarding the current financial crisis, i can think of only one person, jim rodgers, the financial analyst, who saw this catastrophe coming. the most highly educated people on the planet, from the best universities,
    the so-called Experts got it wrong. they didn't have a clue. now as for the post-punk thing i just think it's a convenient label for journalists (and fans too) to use to describe the period from 1981 onwards. "post-punk". it has a certain cachet. and i admit it
    does sound kind of cool.

    i happen to think that rock music, i.e corporate controlled, contract-album-tour stuff ended in 1977 and the landscape changed radically with the sex pistols in the u.k and the ramones in the u.s. it opened a door to a kind of vortex where bands were free to explore whatever they chose to. but to label PIL post-punk i don't buy it. even lydon admits he got the idea from the german band can (a good ten years earlier).

    as for "journalistic criticism", that's based, as is all news and journalism, on the william burroughs concept that there is no story
    unless there is a controversy. see the current sports steroid scandal as a prime example!
  12.  
    7jlong: "What makes anyone an expert on anything? Research."

    i was posing a rhetorical question, but i find it amusing you took it seriously!

    just because a doctor or lawyer has passed an exam and has a million facts stored in in his brain, does that make them an Expert? of course not. it's their ability to synthesize that knowledge in a profound way in their respective professions that makes them stand out.
  13.  
    Keith: "No-one is trying to say that there wasn't great music in the 70's or that there hasn't been any since."

    the guardian review posted above begs to differ: post-punk was " a golden era of pop.......with an abundance of new ideas......
    that had been missing since the 1960's".
  14.  
    Of course when you read the quote in full it's somewhat different to what you have put there.

    What the reveiwer actually said was...

    "For Reynolds, post-punk is much more than a halfway house between the three-chord doctrine of punk and the less rigid but equally formulaic indie-rock scene which eventually led on from it in the 1980s. Instead, he argues that post-punk was actually one of the golden eras of pop, a time when there was an abundance of new ideas in circulation, and a willingness to explore them that had been missing among musicians and their fans since the 1960s."

    I would have thought that the "willingness to explore them that had been missing among musicians and their fans" sentence threw a slightly different light on matters. Even so, that is not the same as saying there was no good music in the 70's.
  15.  
    Freakbag: "Research" does not equal rote memorization, as you suggest - I had assumed that people would understand that my implied definition would equal your expanded description. But I don't wish to get into another producer/engineer to-do, so...

    I realize that your question was rhetorical, thanks. But still dismissive enough to merit comment. Or should I skip trying to engage in a discussion? I'd rather that weren't the case. It's one of the things I like about this forum.

    At any rate, happy to amuse. At least that's something.
  16.  
    "research does not equal rote memorization." possibly, but it's a big part of it. because then you have to take that raw data, make a determination, and arrive at a conclusion. my point is that i'm very, very skeptical of someone who calls himself an Expert, in any field.

    feel free to comment anytime! far be it from me to want stifle debate! good point about making something "sound as important as the Surrealist movement." critical theory/ analysis is often quite like that, esp. in art and music.
  17.  
    Agreed, and, agreed. Especially on suspicious declarations of "expert" status. I know a healthy amount of stuff on weird topics too, but wouldn't call myself an expert on much of anything. Perhaps more of a trivia-gatherer.

    And, agreed. I'm not picking on PIL or Adam Ant or Frankie or The Art of Noise (the latter of which I absolutely adored the first 3 albums from), but reading Rip It Up I started to think that I was a rube for not noticing that all of those bands were the most important thing to happen to music since Edison starting grinding grooves into wax with needles... then I put down the book and remembered that I can't stand Adam Ant and still find him to be a bit of a farce, and felt a lot better.