Monday, December 05, 2016

music + politics

I have a piece in the new issue of The Pitchfork Review - #11, "The Music and Politics Issue".

A timely theme. Indeed.

I wonder how differently the pieces would be approached now. They were written and edited many, many weeks before the election result.

My own contribution is a "personal journey through UK politics and pop". In addition to some cool record sleeve and flyer images, it's also illustrated with some back-in-the-day photographs of, well, me. (Not my idea, I hasten to add, though having a narcissistic streak I was happy to go along with it). (Previews here). The journey starts with "Anarchy in the U.K" and ends with... well, I don't want to give away the story arc. Suffice to say that as time goes by my ideas about how politics + pop work together grow ever more complicated, ever more creased with doubt.

Right now, it doesn't feel like music has much to offer the current situation.

A curious thing about the election is that it showed both the weakness and the power of pop culture. On one hand, 99 % of the star performer class rallied to Clinton's cause, without any effect beyond buzzing up the pre-converted. (An echo of the election of '72 in which countless rock stars played benefits for McGovern, to no avail at all). On the other hand, the winner is absolutely a product of the entertainment industry -  a fame monster spawned by celebrity culture at its most abject.