Monday, 31 December 2007

Anoraking: The Dream Turns Sour

Oh dear, the old build 'em up, knock 'em down response kicks in...

The Primitives in Melody Maker, November 8 1986:
"Yeah, we really have got an anorak and we're gonna BURN it. On stage. We're waiting for the right moment. A lot of people have been trying to bash this scene on the head recently. It's about time this 'Nice-little-anorak-band-can't-quite-play-very-well' music scene came to an end'".

Simon Reynolds (hurrah!) interviews Jesse Garon and The Desperadoes in Melody Maker, February 7 1987:
'Why do they loathe the anorak thing?

Andrew: "I can see it had its good points...before it became a defined cult. Like the way it was a reaction against Goth and the return of the hippy. And the way there's a lot more girls in bands, not just as window dressing, but as drummers and bassists."

Margarita: "But I hate the new rules and uniforms that solidify, the way that what was once a joke is taken seriuosly, so that people slavishly start wearing what Stephen Pastel has been wearing for years. And I hate this whole aura of tweeness and cute childishness that hangs over the scene."

What's "Splashing Along" all about?

Andrew: "Oh dear this is going to sound terribly anorak! It's about going to a club called Splash 1 which was this pivotal anorak club, in the pouring rain, to see this girl I was in love with...At the moment I'm considering writing a song called 'Fuck Off And Die' in order to change our image!"'

Mr Reynolds, as is his want, muses carefully on the nature of anoraked-up 'pure pop', leading to a most entertaining conclusion:

'As the second and third waves of shambling bands immitate their predecessors, we get a kind of logic of inbreeding (like pedigree dogs, the aim is for new levels of 'purity'), leading to more and more grotesque breeds. Can you imagine what the progeny of The BMX Bandits will look like?!?'

Melody Maker, September 26 1987:
'Everybody, from that scene, is crappy nowadays. How we can laugh at people's gullibility, how we can snicker over those with a copy of "C-86", amazed at their naivety. A bunch of Anorexic Krankies playing at pop; showcasing the nadir of shambling, heralding a brief new age of more fulsome student pop. So The Shop Assistants crumbled, so The Mighty Lemon Drops pegged their noses over such shoddy suggestions, stalked off and are still pegging out. What a wasteful scene, with its hollow premise and shallow promises.'

Wow, such vitirol! And for what? Why, an article on the brilliance of The Soup Dragons of course! Written by Goth King Mick Mercer in which he apparently 'finds where they left their anoraks and why they lost their innocence'. Oh the humanity!

Even Talulah Gosh put the boot into the 'scene' in Melody Maker, June 13 1987:
‘…there was no surprise that these gentle urchins were placed at the centre of the minute indie "cutie" scene. Maybe there was only them there.
Matthew, a decidedly untwee figure, has an answer, " All that is such a contrived style, and there are all these terrible fanzines with recipes for sweety sweety yumyum cake who suggest going for picnics with ginger beer and playing Buzzcocks tapes."

What can they mean? Incidentally, pictured above are a few pages from cutester indiepop fanzine 'Troutfishing In Leytonstone', ca.1987.

And then there was
'Searching For The Young Soul Rebels: a hatebomb' a brilliantly written rantzine by a rather bitter and twisted Peter - previously known as 'Pete Honey' of Baby Honey fanzine. This fanzine dripped sneering vitriol at pretty much everyone - the NME for being:

'basically SCUM, just a bunch of white do-gooder voyeurs'

fanzine writers for being:

'sycophantic paedophiles eagerly discussing Marigold's new haircut...Fucking hippies.'

the 'Take The Subway To Your Suburb' compilation;

'...when I bought it my immediate intention was to put a knife mark through the grooves of every song on the lp except 'Get Out Of My Dream...'

'Searching For The Young Soul Rebels' was compelling writing from someone thoroughly disillusioned by a micro-scopic music scene:
'All these enthusiastic sixteen year olds going on twenty-five, wearing their hearts all too painfully on their stripey sleeves, shambling as in 'a shambles', given credibility by jerks like The Legend! twittering on and dull fanzine-types without one single fucking original thought between them, who'll tell me how their summer began when they bought the Desperadoes single ("but they're not pressed in red/ so they buy the Soupies instead") all of it perpetrated by inane and smalltown attitudes and the sheer MEDIOCRITY of the likes of The Chesterfields...'

Looking at it now, it's amusing how worked up the poor love got over such irrelevant minutiae, especially when the fanzine's denouement reveals the not very mind-blowing news:

'Emily and The Clouds are two of the four greatest bands on the planet right now, along with Primal Scream and The Jesus and Mary Chain. THAT is a fact. Take that knowledge, and make your own contribution to the new soul vision. Oh and for God's sake...BURN IT DOWN'

It's still a good read though.

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