Wednesday, 28 February 2018

PARKLIFE


A version of this rant appeared on the sadly now defunct Profane Beefs website, a short-lived affair dedicated to desecrating the sacred cows of music.


What happens with music is what happens with everything else the poor possess.

Music scenes pretty much always start amongst the poor – a new sound emerging from the forgotten corners of urban life. This sound spreads to local clubs and DJ’s. Soon money gets involved, a buzz is generated around an ever hyper-ready media and then record companies, scared of missing the boat, flood the scene with cash – copycats are suddenly abundant, the scene is diluted, finished.

Same thing happens with where they live.  People will hear that a certain part of town is vibrant and exciting and so the hipsters will move in, wanting part of this scene, driving rents and mortgages up. Soon the local cafĂ©, the local pub, all those things that created that atmosphere in the first place is choked with moneyed strangers, incapable of seeing that they always kill the things they hoped to keep.

Sanitise what the poor have and sell it to the middle classes.  Football, music, fashion – it’s all just grist to the millenial mill. These parasites have always existed but the internet has made their breeding uncontrollable. You used to have to work hard, shop around, put the hours in looking for that new thing you wanted to hear and make yours. Now a click of a mouse and suddenly everyone knows about the Big Beat revival/that obscure French director/that little old fashioned tea rooms tucked away in a forgotten side street.

The poor love their drink, you killed their pubs. They love their football; you priced them out of the game entirely. Everything that the government does already had a mandate from anyone with a buy-to-let mortgage or a stupid haircut. Their chips, their clothes, and their run down cars – you took them and resold them to the rich as artisan street food, authentic work clobber and vintage runabouts. The working class has been shafted, so what the fuck you looking at.

That band you and your mates used to follow back in the day. The local heroes.  Made one album, split up. Now they’ve had a song used in a Coke advert. Now there’s a reunion tour. Better still, they’re playing your hometown. You have to book a ticket online but you’re stuck in a queue and the next thing you know, the thing’s sold out to a bunch of micro brewers with massive beards who just chanced upon an article on Pitchfork and decided that it sounded fun, ironic even.

Sometimes it feels like you’re being laughed at. Everywhere you go, people are dressed like you used to only somehow now it costs a fortune. The pub you frequented as an underage lager lout has changed its name, got rid of the jukebox and sells sandwiches that cost more than your bus fare to work. The telly’s full of people pretending they speak just like you despite being called Julian or Sebastian.

Your dead end job just about keeps the wolf from the door. All your friends are either in the same boat or have fallen overboard. Your kids share classes with kids with first names that make them sound like they came out of a 1930s pit village. Alfie, Bertie, Sid – all being dropped off by the au pair.

Sometimes you want to run away, run home. But home’s gone. That estate, that run down hellhole of your youth, they did it up nice. Saw that there was a view of the sea and decided that the poor didn’t deserve this. They packed them off to live in a car park near the landfill. They renamed the estate after a local hero who grew up round here and who promptly vanished the first chance he could.

Everything on the telly makes you feel worse about yourself. Shows with people buying second homes when you haven’t yet bought one and having the cheek to be stressed about it.  Public school educated comedians pretending to be just like you and generating canned laughter and a stadium tour just by saying stuff that you would say in an exaggerated version of your own accent.

And that’s the laugh you hear in your head whenever you hear the opening chords of the song Parklife by Blur, that “Oi” and those sitcom music hall fucking key changes.  It’s doubly annoying because the single Girls and Boys had been such a celebration of pop music, dance music, holidays and sex that you thought Blur might actually be on the verge of doing something special, something magical. But they weren’t. They were just doing what all the other middle class bands do, picking your pocket with one hand and buying you a drink with the other.

You play the entire album once. It disgusts you. You take it to a charity shop. You walk home and a pigeon shits on your head.

 

 

 

 

 

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