Thursday, January 28, 2010

Alan McGee: The modern contrarian

There's a big interview with Alan McGee in today's Daily Record, where the man who brought us Oasis, and then kept on bringing us Oasis rails against... oh, The Brits:

McGee, 49, said: "I saw the Brit Awards nominations and I mean, God, is it that bad?

"They should get rid of the Brits and start again with 20 music journalists who actually care about music getting together, instead of a bunch of self-interested record company people who just vote for their own acts."

I remember you saying the same thing as Oasis were getting a best album prize for What's The Story... oh, hang on, I don't.

He also calls for McCartney to retire, because he's too old:
"Music should be like football. Once you turn 40, you should become a manager or get lost. It's for kids. You lose perspective.

"You don't have 66-year-old football players. There's a reason for that."

Erm, yes. Because football requires a degree of physical fitness and dexterity that declines as you grow older. It's not because you get confused about where the goal is or start thinking it'd be better to concentrate on doing push-ups instead of scoring.

And if you reach an age where you can no longer write a decent song because you no longer have the "perspective", why would you be any good as a manager?

McGee's oh-so-contrary Logan's Run style proposal would, of course, have robbed the world of Johnny Cash doing Hurt and everything from Robert Wyatt from Old Rottenhat onwards. Paul McCartney was 39 when he did the Frog Chorus, so it wouldn't have even spared us that.
The man I was at 24 managing The Jesus and Mary Chain is not the same person at 49.

That's becoming increasingly apparent, Alan.


Elvita Adams said...

Now that I'm getting that 40 way I can't say I'd want to agree with him, but does he not have a point that certain kinds of music are often only made well by the young?

The trouble is no matter how good anyones music is the best era will always be when you're 18. Whoever you are. I mean 1993. Don't get better than that. (and only a couple of Oasis singles if I remember rightly and the best ones.)

Robin Carmody said...


Most of the best music for me was made before or after the late 1990s. I don't recall being 18 with any great fondness - a lot of people don't, you know, in fact for many (myself included) it brings on shuddering nightmares and/or a sense that you simply didn't recognise what was *really* happening at that time. I feel a greater personal connection to a lot of music that was outside my personal experience, whether generationally or socially/geographically, than I do to almost anything I've ever been "supposed" to like.

The problem with McGee is that he's tainted forever by his embrace of hip new Blairite capitalism, so has to jump into ever more pathetic pseudo-rebellious contortions to avoid dealing with the implications of this. He simply refuses to face the fact that disposability and short-termism *are* the establishment creeds these days, and to believe that certain jobs are done better by the experienced and unhip is now the most rebellious stance you can take (as the demonisation of Gordon Brown proves). I suspect you find that hard to face as well. I don't want to sound like Peter Hitchens, but we really do have an establishment in denial in this country, of which McGee is a quintessential example. He provides all the ammunition required for swearing off rock music forever - I'd be surprised if there are 20 "music journalists", if by that he means people who write in the established press, who care about what they're writing about these days (which itself is in large part down to the Oasis legacy); the real voices are in places he deliberately doesn't go.

Anonymous said...

Slow to react but I just spotted elsewhere that yesterday (the day Simon posted this) was actually Wyatt's 65th birthday!!!

Interesting that Wyatt can become old enough to pick up his pension but is still relevant and working (Today programme, experimental radio plays, French Jazz tribute album, Hot Chip, Eno & Byrne, Bragg) whilst McGee is already a silly moaning old man. I also just looked up the 1996 BRITs - the year Oasis won most - and there's a hell of a lot of crap there. Bon Jovi won best international, Oasis (despite two nominations) lost best single to Back For Good, Simply Red played and Jimmy Nail was nominated. Yeah it were so much better back in my day...

Robin Carmody said...

Indeed so. Not to mention Blair's involvement. And Prince still winning best international act years after his peak. The Brits of a few years earlier were even worse.

"Back for Good" is actually less irksome than the Oasis songs it beat.

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