Note: Originally published September 2011 when London was gearing up for the Olympics and it did feel like the world was going cuckoo. We’d just had the Riots and I’d even made a musical for it which was available briefly on Bandcamp. Reloading some of these old posts through gritted teeth. Whatever I was on back then, oh how I’d like some now.
I guess this is decent enough channel to write this on – indeed, I’m amazed that there has been no other badly thought out and even more badly spelled essays on the subject in the broadsheets. So I’ll get all this out of my system so our pals at the Guardian can pinch it wholesale when the time is right in the new year. Kind of like when they lifted my extended spout on the leaking of ‘Toy’ that I rather foolishly wasted on a forum somewhere. I should have put that on here too. Warning: this is going to be terrible, so hold tight.
Anyway. Depending what your views are on English guitar rock, it seems pretty obvious that London 2012 is ripe for an AWESOME Euro ’96 style Cool Britannia revival. Imagine the back slapping and flags and imagine the jollies. You can hear Shed Seven choosing the carpet to their new extensions paid for when ‘Going For Gold’ charts again. Cast are gearing up for a small tour to promote ‘Walk Away’ when it hits the top 20 due to its use over the closing titles of Grandstand after another member of Team GB totally cocks it up. Kasabian with be scaring children with their pointy shoes and smelly hair as they perform, I dunno, ‘Spice Up Your Life’ at the opening ceremony. Brian May will do ‘We Are The Champions’ with Dizzee Rascal on top of Lord Coe’s pay cheque. (2017 note: I was NEARLY right)
Sadly, the Cool Britannia celebrations will fart out a little trickle of nothingness. Those people who were students during those mid 90s halcyon days have kids of their own – sat there upstairs on the bus listening to something AWFUL and laughing at their dad’s grizzed Oasis cut / Beckham Fin (with a bald bit at the back). They will pick up the free Cool Britannia Britpop CD with the Daily Mail and play it during a barbecue they have organised the afternoon of the 100 metre final. You get the picture. It will be a laboured (definitely a small ‘l’) squeeze of trapped wind. Actual bands don’t exist anymore, and the Urban scene is too aggressive to produce a true all encompassing anthem, the pop princesses won’t get the point. So irony of ironys, as well as being absolutely schooled on the field by the Americans, it will be our cousins from the US doing a song as sickly awful as that ‘New York State Of Mind’ abortion that will rule the airwaves in our moment of national triumph. (Again, NEARLY right)
So what’s this got to do with SILVERY? Nothing really, other than if it all goes to plan, album 3 should be out mid-Olympics.(Nope) So do we seize the zeitgeist and put it out wrapped in a Union Jack and call it something like ‘London Sport’ or do I just sit tight and keep on message? I might start playing a Union Jack guitar. No, my real worry about all this is that in this Post Britpop world (check out Luke Haines’ exceptional books for much more accurate scribbles) another massive celebration of the Oh So Ironic like the mid nineties will be another massive hammer blow to the nation’s IQ. Another generation pissing it all away, another 10 X-Factor Christmas Number Ones, school trips to see Jimmy Carr, grown men who choose to wear those gingham shirts with plain white cuffs & collars, more chancers starting their own high end burger joints with no real idea as to what makes a good burger, ladies getting kidney problem because they think vomiting in cabs will make them equal to that boxing fanatic bloke they fancy in the office. Computer games. We’re all buggered. And that’s official.
Actually, ‘London Sport’ is an excellent name for an album.
Much like the 1970s were split into those trapped into thinking it was the end of the 60s and those who knew it was the start of the 80s, the time between the 1996 and 2012 has all been the Noughties. Indeed, we’ll still be in the Noughties until the 2020s. 2012 is a good looking year though, aesthetically. Like Ziggy in 1972, like Blur in 1994. It’s a good looking number (I LOVE the way LONDON 2012 looks written in that London Underground Johnson font). I’d like to be in a young band in 2012, tearing it up with a holy trinity of classic debut singles. I think it SHOULD be a proper year zero (It wouldn’t be a Quaire Fellow entry without metaphors getting muddled). The only thing missing is the new blood – someone with an idea that is either such a well aimed shot at nostalgia (RIP Viva Brother), or something so totally fresh (Errrm… Haddaway?). Luckily though, those with the facilities to make a strike on the zeitgist are too thick to realise. Gap year bands with bleeping iMacs. Sure there will be another Shed Seven ‘Best Of’. But there will be no great Britpop piss up like we used to have back in the day with bunting and suits and sailors kissing girls in the street. There won’t be any going over the top in the trenches of Camden and Kentish Town battling the Crusties and the Grungers. There will be no more fallen Britpop Tommies. There will be no corner of Islington dedicated to those lost in the First Britpop Wars. There will be no Kula Shaker. No Echobelly. Menswear will not be plugging in on the roof of the World’s End as the Olympic torch relay goes past. No. That’s a terrible idea. And yes, I know that Ziggy and Blur were on their 3rd or 4th attempt when their aesthetically pleasing year zeros came around.
It’s a toss up between ‘London Sport’ and ‘North Sea Hijack’. I like that film.
God, the internet has fucked it all up (oh Christ, he can’t stop. Ed.) Remember writing letters? Remember Ceefax? God, even The Libertines made it OK to dress like The Levellers (they had a good looking launch year too – 2002). All the good that was done by the time Suede went shit (1995) has been undone by over zealous development and progress. There will just be the same old idiots trying to do their same old idiotic shit. Topshop mannequins in trilby’s playing some Scottish funk upstairs in the OBL, the smart ones are just sat there staring through narrowed eyes cursing the fact that they never went to Art School like they should have – never pursued their ambitions instead of being on that weird autopilot that you don’t even realise you’re on until you hit 25. Dads being loaded, Richard Hamilton taking some scissors to an Argos catalogue, teachers who find it inspiring that another generation of students think it is original having a video of a lady dancing wearing a pig mask. In the same way the scene that ate itself ruined music until 2020, those wonderfully terrible Young British Artist totally cocked up the art scene. I’m not an expert, but people painting pictures and piling up junk until they do a piece with a funny enough punchline that Heat invite them to the launch of a shoe shop doth not an artist make.
By virtue of the fact you’re reading this, you’re on side. You’re a smart one. Prepare for your close up in ‘I Remember 2012’ and tell them that Post-Silvery London was truly shit.