Is Rock Music Dying? Answers on a Comment at the End of this Post…

As you get older it is natural to feel nostalgic at times. For me, music will often provide a prompt for it, so the news that rock music is beginning to disappear from the listings on our iconic summer festivals makes me a little despondent, while also reinforcing the sensation of ageing.
Once upon a time an award ceremony such as The Brits would have been compelling viewing; would have been packed with enthralling acts and a must-see event. Nowadays, if I’ve heard of any of the artists I’d be hard pushed to know what genre they purveyed, still less come up with a song title.
I accept that rapping is a skilled, cutting-edge, universally popular style of music. I am just unable to find anything to enjoy about listening to it. There also seems to be a veritable explosion of confident, young girls plying their songs, using the internet to publicise themselves, singing in [to me] identical, jerky, husky tones. Until the appalling massacre at the Manchester Arena in May 2017 I’d never heard of the singer Ariana Grande and I’ll admit to being amazed she had such a huge following. This is what happens as you age; you get out of the loop.
Some time during the last twenty years large swathes of popular music got hijacked by music moguls and star-makers. This imbues any creativity with a cynical, contrived quality, which is not to say that some talented individuals have not gained success from this route but that flooding the market with cloned and honed hopefuls does nothing for the music market.
History shows that often, when musical trends become tired and tedious a new, innovative, anarchic style will emerge to attract both fans and appalled detractors. This happened during the seventies when glam rock had run its course and become a parody of itself. In a movement that both shocked and appalled the mainstream and entranced those wanting change Punk arrived, spitting and snarling its grubby, vomit-laden way into pop culture. Now those born-to-shock Sex Pistols numbers like God Save the Queen, Anarchy in the UK and Pretty Vacant have become classics.
Of course devotees of rap music would say the same of their favourite style. And it would be fair [though sad] to say that in the next ten or twenty years, those ageing rock musicians who’ve dominated the stages for the last twenty or so years will [like me] be shuffling off to the immortality of Classic Gold. So maybe it is time to give over the stage to rap artists, grime artists and whatever is due to come next. Just please, please don’t let it be some karaoke-style competition winner from a tedious, Saturday night reality game show. And I’ll respect any genuine attempt at a new musical genre-but don’t expect me to like it, or to have heard of it!

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Lost in the Fog of Incomprehension

                I think I may be turning into my mother. It is an unnerving thought. Why do I suspect this? Well, in a somewhat painful acknowledgement I have to confess there are many aspects of today’s fashion, culture and lifestyle I simply do not understand at all, and this lack of comprehension elicits the same pitying expression and incredulous remarks from my offspring as I once presented to their grandmother.

                There are the same, mismatched conversations about film, TV or music; the same confusion over technological issues; the same enquiries of ‘you mean you’ve never heard of…?’

                I remember breezing in from school as a thirteen year old, slinging my satchel [yes, reader, a satchel-and not the current Fiorelli or Mulberry type] down and delightedly regaling my mother with a seedy tale about a girl who’d been yanked out of class for flaunting a necklace of love bites.  The sad truth for those of us in thrall was that we all wished it was us, since it was indisputable evidence of a steamy encounter with a member of the opposite sex…! There was no possible method of self inflicting these fetching, purplish-blue bruises even if one was gifted with a talent for contortionism. My mother’s reaction? She was bewildered.

                “What? Biting?…Why would anyone bite someone?”

                I told her. I explained that it wasn’t a bite, it was a suck, but she remained resolutely mystified-and somewhat disapproving that I’d related the incident. At least, in this respect I differ from her, that is I am reasonably shock-proof. How can I be anything else? I was a teenager in the sixties.

                The following is a random sample of some things that mystify me.

 

Puffa Jackets.

I don’t get these. For anyone who is not anorexic they render the body obese. To wear one is to resemble the bulbous ‘Michelin Man’. I don’t doubt they are warm-but then so are bedsocks, and balaclavas.

 

Teenage Vampires.

I’ve read ‘Dracula’. It was great. I enjoyed the Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. But the plethora of viewing of ‘Twilight’ ilk is all total bilge…[to me!].

 

Rapping

I should probably not include rapping in this list, since it has been around for so long-but it still does not pre-date my musical tastes. I have never understood its appeal, being neither poetry nor music.

 

Shots

As far as I can make out, this is simply a way to get strong alcohol down the gullet without tasting alcohol, hence the bizarre flavours. You only ever see people tipping them down their throats, as if imbibing nasty medicine-which it might just as well be.

 

Tattoos

I agree there is a modicum of fascination about someone who is covered in inky pictures, but I’ve yet to see how they enhance anyone’s appearance. It looks eccentric to the point of farcical to sweep up the red carpet towards the Oscar ceremony in a Balenciaga gown with a lurid tattoo on the bare shoulder or exposed leg-and a related body decoration-

 

Piercings

Yes I do have pierced ears, although only one, discreet hole in each. The worst are those studs in the indentation of the nostril that simply look like a nasty boil on the nose, or dangle from the nose like snot. Similarly, I can’t see anything attractive about those HUGE cotton reel things that young men wear in both ears, forming a large, gaping circle in each.

                I could go on, except that it may well turn into a rant, which would be unseemly. It’s not, you understand, that I disapprove of any of the above, more that I can’t see the point of them. But hey-each to their own. [oh and I know how irritating old people can be!]