Wednesday, December 22, 2004

PITY IT WASN'T PAXMAN, MIND: At least Pete Doherty went into his Newsnight interview knowing he wasn't going to be the most mashed rock star to appear on the programme this year: there wouldn't be enough drugs in the world to turn Doherty/Wark into a rematch of Esler/E. Smith from the day Peel died; and it seems like he kept it together pretty well (we're not in a place where we're able to watch the footage right now; we're hoping it's going to be working its way through bittorrent for when we get back to Broadband). It sounds like Kirsty gave him the sort of grilling he probably needs:

When I asked him about the trail of destruction and violence that accompanies heroin's journey from the poppy fields to his body - particularly the plight of mainly female drug mules - I don't think he'd given it any thought.

Naturally, there's a lot of debate flowing in the wake of the appearance: Drowned In Sound have a thread: Tobyj muses on how the Libs have grabbed the posh media:

Endeacott scored a first radio play ever for the Libs (I think) on Radio 4's Today Programme, while being interviewed about something else. With hindsight it seems oddly consistent with Doherty ending up 3 years later on Newsnight - true rebellion maybe being the capture of the posh media. David Baddiell discussing Pete on R4 probably stretches their audience much further than an NME cover.

... and you can see his point; although this is a process that started with Suede a decade ago, where The Independent, the Late Show and the South Bank Show latched on quickly; presumably because by the start of the 90s these programmes and papers were being edited in part by people who had bubbled up the media from a fanziney/NME route and who had both the knowledge and the passion to communicate about slightly-more left-field music in a way other than "Punks! Hide yourself!"


Robin Carmody said...

This reminds me of a phrase that came into my head a while ago after the video for Musical Youth's "Pass The Dutchie" came on VH1 Classic: the particular piece of symbolism I used was that no video could ever have that impact or mean that much now that Arthur Marshall's dead (obviously an analogy for much wider changes; I mean, the whole idea of middle-aged jurors being baffled by even the simplest sound system just wouldn't wash today).

I do remain convinced that a decent amount of mediocre music (not "Pass The Dutchie" itself, though) was made to appear better than it was by the very different media climate in which it had to find its place before the 1990s. It's hard to believe that The Times was still adhering to its policy of always calling people "Mr", "Mrs" or "Miss" (it would probably have said "Mr Peter Doherty", just as it said "Miss Susannah Lamplugh", rather than calling her Susie, when she went missing) only 15 years ago, at the time of the Roses / Mondays TOTP. This has been a *very* long decade and a half ...

simon h b said...

It's an interesting suggestion, Robin: it's also notable that in what hereafter we shall refer to as the 'Marshall era' the dominant force for music was probably Radio One, at a time when (for all Simon Bates' cries of 'If it's too loud, you're too old') there wasn't very much worry put into the quality of what they were playing. We could, perhaps, sum this up as "Shakin' Stevens just couldn't happen today'...

Robin Carmody said...

Bates was, of course, heard on Radio 2 and Radio 4 *before* he joined Radio 1 ... a freeloader if ever there was one, whose great misfortune was the fact that there was no national station whose ethos could be summed up as "Radio 4 content in Radio 1 style" until *just* after Bannister had cleared him out of Radio 1 (had Five Live been announced a few weeks earlier, or had Bannister arrived a few weeks later, I wonder whether Bates might have gone straight to Five Live and stayed there ever since?).

I remain convinced that the reason why Michael Checkland didn't act on the verdict of a committee he set up to investigate Radio 1's future in 1991 - it claimed that Bates, Travis, Freeman and Harris should all leave the station and that it was "too agreeable to the over-30 listeners; they ought to hate it ... the feel should be more dangerous, alternative, rebellious and anarchic" - was that he was just that bit too old to understand how and why people could feel that way. Birt was pop-generation and that's key; give him that, if nothing else.

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