Artistic renovation…it’s a funny thing. I really don’t know if that’s the right word for it. The word rehabilitation is probably more appropriate but renovation makes me think more of the way you can patch up a rotting old villa and sell it as something more than it was originally perceived to be. Its the habit, we as listening humans have, to apply the much overused word “classic” to older records or music or recording artists who, whether because of the whims of fashion at the time they recorded; or because they truly are garbage, were roundly dismissed during their time in the sun, but have returned to haunt us. Or, thanks to Classic Hits radio...never left.
What actually bought this to mind now was a two liner, in one of those lists of what’s hot or not that editors use to fill a gap, in one of those glossy magazines that fall out, on to the road, of the New Zealand Herald as you leave the dairy on a Saturday morning….the throwaway twenty pagers the paper uses to try (generally failing rather badly) to give itself a little edge with the self consciously uber hip, referencing the finer things, the tasteful and the expensive for the style conscious or the dinner partying nuvo foodies that swarm over Auckland’s inner suburbs of a weekend. The magazine in question, whatever it’s called, a few weeks ago was touting, with glee, the reformation of Genesis. Genesis…or can I more correctly say..fucking Genesis for gods sake!
The band that includes Phil Collins…..yes that Genesis…(ok...edit..it wasn't the Herald, it was The Sunday Star Times as Alan points out below...but, still, Genesis?)
Now in this case it’s probably more a case of the paper letting its guard down and the real face of the Herald, a paper that is probably still feeling threatened by Dire Straits, showing through.
However it’s indicative, and it’s everywhere. My problem of course is that I’m an old punk. We hate things. It was a part of our ethos and we are miserable and enjoy hating things. But to be completely fair to myself, I hated, no that's the wrong word..despised works better, the likes of Genesis way before I heard The Ramones or Wire. There is something inexplicable about bands like that is simply wrong. We hated the right things and I’ll always happily believe that. We had standards that time doesn’t lessen. I'll trust my instincts. Genesis are crap.
So now I’m surrounded by rehabilitation, by renovation. When I get the notion, quite often actually, I wander around Bill Brewster’s rather special DJ History website and in particular the forum. But inevitably I find myself running scared when someone starts talking in glowing terms about Fleetwood Mac, or asking if there are any other good songs by
And then, there is (hopefully "was" is more appropriate now) Pink Floyd. When I grew up the common wisdom was that their peak was with Syd and there was, post Barrett, a fairly slow decline, with Dark Side being the creative sign off point. This wasn’t based upon any wistful notion of the tortured genius but simply the use of our ears. I mean, for heavens sake listen. We find The Wall being hailed here and there and everywhere now for its “classic nature”, with its third form social commentary for fucks sake. Has anyone actually listened to the lyrics on that brick song…
No the common wisdom was right and PF’s output was and is increasingly dire after 1974 or so reaching a bloated nadir in the stadium nonsense of The Wall and all those truly awful records that came after it.
Of course I’ve long ago lost this battle. I think back to those Retro nights at Cause Celebre and the Box (that Grant Marshall successfully took to half a dozen clubs afterwards for years). Nobody ever wanted the good records, no it was about the real "classics", the Eye of the Tigers, or I Rans or The Final Countdowns. And as I imply earlier, I understand the cheese factor and I was happy to smile as the hordes rushed thru the club door placing their five dollar note in my till......but as a graying punk I feel the need to stand up and say something, even if it makes not the slightest bit of difference. Its about the inner self...
At least no-one is talking about Yes…yet