Monday, February 13, 2006

Best bit of this K-punk riff on glam's nietzchean will-to-splendor and its paradoxical ethos of egalitarian hierarchism, is the sideswipe at the absurdly over-rated Smash Hits, recently deceased with circulation figures lower than the NME it once eclipsed so dramatically in the Eighties. As Mark points out, SHits, for all its anti-rockism, was equally opposed to the very currents of awe and idolatry (from the consumer p.o.v.) and pretension and ambition (from the artist's standpoint) that fuel pop. With that deadly all-too-English mix of "sensible" and "irreverent," it was the enemy of pop's true essence, a ludicrous seriousness. But as Adam Ant said, ridicule is nothing to be scared of.

For a heavy dose of heroic pretentiousness, check out, this forthcoming compilation by Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes and John Taylor, which practically is Mark's K-glam canon encapsulated (only significant ommissions: Japan--who I thought Duran worshipped--and Visage).

Nick Rhodes & John Taylor Present: Only After Dark (EMI)
Human League – Being Boiled (Fast version) (3.39)
Yellow Magic Orchestra - Computer Games (3.32)
David Bowie – Always Crashing In The Same Car (3.29)
Psychedelic Furs – Sister Europe (5.38)
Simple Minds – Changeling (4.11)
Mick Ronson – Only After Dark (3.30)
John Foxx – Underpass (3.53)
The Normal – Warm Leatherette (3.22)
Bryan Ferry – In Crowd (4.33)
Brian Eno – The True Wheel (5.11)
The Tubeway Army – "Are Friends Electric?" (5.17)
Kraftwerk – The Robots (single edit) (3.45)
Donna Summer – I Feel Love (3.48)
Wire – I Am The Fly (3.06)
Magazine – Shot By Both Sides (3.57)
Grace Jones - Private Life (5.11)
Iggy Pop – The Passenger (4.41)
Ultravox – Slow Motion (3.29)

from the press release:

"The late ‘70s and dawning ’80s period has often been misunderstood and overshadowed by the punk rock era, yet for many it was the point where the most innovative ideas of the 1970s collided to create a new set of possibilities - a fusion of punk, glam, art-rock, disco, synthesizers and DIY experimentalism. Birmingham teenagers Nick Rhodes and John Taylor were inspired by these ideas as they formed their own band Duran Duran. Their HQ in 1979 was the Rum Runner club in the town centre, a meeting place on Tuesday night for all the local misfits, art students and music fans. Rhodes DJ’d on those evenings, mixing together old glam idols - Bowie, Roxy Music, Mick Ronson - with the Sex Pistols, Kraftwerk and strange post-punk bands such as Magazine and Wire. This was the time when electronic music got into the hands of thin young men from London‘s squats around Kings Cross, the suburbs and Northern England, namely Ultravox, Tubeway Army and The Human League. ‘By putting together this album our intention is to introduce songs by artists who influenced us,’ explains Rhodes. ‘As we were to developing our own sound, this was the backdrop. John Foxx’s Ultravox in particular were important as they were the first to fuse punk with synthesizers and there was a new kind of groove creeping in there too. Bands were moving ever closer to the dance floor.... everything was at a crossroads. Everything was in flux.’ The result was a new wave of artists who reinvented themselves through fashion, graphics, photography, and identity as well as through their music - New ideals that were misinterpreted at the time as a distraction from the songs. The cover art and booklet of ‘Only After Dark’ uses images from a fascinating new book, ‘Duran Duran Unseen …Paul Edmond - Photographs 1979-82’. Edmond documented the Birmingham scene and its more experimental characters: the designers Kahn & Bell, Martin Degville, Fashion and even Boy George a frequent visitor to the city. ... John Taylor explains: ‘The gender identity thing was going on around the music: boys looking like girls; girls looking like boys. Everything was in a state of transition. Punk was a drug that everybody had taken and we were all wide awake - eyes dilated and pores open. You’re as high as a kite because your senses are alive and you’re turned on - it’s that moment of possibility which we‘ve tried to bring to life again on this album.’

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