Sunday, October 03, 2004

THE MUSIC THAT MAKES THE MAN: As part of a bid to try and make the Tories seem a tad more human, they made a little film where various Conservative faces were asked questions. Yes, clearly the party isn't just bereft of ideas in its policy making, it's even reduced to stealing Channel 4's placer commercials for its own publcity. Amongst the ridiculous claims are that Liam Fox claims to listen to the Scissor Sisters, policy co-ordinator David Cameron says he finds the "depressing" music of the Smiths uplifting - yes, so do we, particuarly Margaret On The Guillotine - and, most deliciously of all, Nicholas Soames reveals himself to be a fan of Dido. Oddly, this week, Nicky Wire also came out as a Dido fan - odd, from a man who once endorsed the view that Slowdive were worse than Hitler. It's slightly alarming to think that Soames and Wire are starting to develop common ground. Although "starting" is wrong, of course: the Manics have been drifting towards the middle ground for much of the last decade.


Robin Carmody said...

I can well believe that the younger Tories listen to the music they claim to listen to; the dominant trend in Britain of the last 25 years isn't so much that popular music has lost its edge, it's that the old bourgeois culture has been eroded - partially for natural generational reasons, but partially because Thatcherism preached the doctrine that the old idea of Tories ignoring popular culture was partially responsible for Britain's economic decline (a wariness of popular culture was seen by the New Right as a contributing factor to a wider wariness of catering for popular tastes which the Germans, Japanese, Americans &c. did not suffer from). And this makes popular music and culture in general *seem* like it has lost its edge, but it isn't because of any changes in popular music/culture, it's because the forces which used to oppose it have been swept away, not least from within - Liam Fox is from a generation of Tories who are very concerned with being a) strong US allies and b) opposed to the racism of the Old Right, and liking various forms of popular music clearly fits with this image.

What I find interesting is Nicholas Soames' professed liking for Dido. I can well believe that the aforementioned younger Tories who define themselves by opposition to the old anti-populism and anti-commercialism - now easily the dominant grouping within the Parliamentary party - would like her; in fact she is more cleverly and cynically targeted at that whole cultural axis (admittedly largely in NuLab these days) than anyone since "But Seriously ..."-era Phil Collins, 15 years back. But Soames? He strikes me as a very obvious throwback to the Toryism of old, stuffily anti-populist (and covertly anti-Semitic, if you believe some of the remarks he's supposed to have made about Howard and Bercow), loathing television and appearing on it rarely and resentfully - I've always imagined him to be musically/culturally more Richard Baker than Richard Allinson, more Sheridan Morley than Steve Wright. The fact that even he feels the need to publicly associate himself with the sound of suburban mundanity, the face and voice that stamps on romantic ruralism with the same direct effect that Stevenage town centre had 45 years ago, shows just how total the High Tories' defeat is - ***even Nicholas Soames knows which way the wind is blowing***. In many ways this ever more commercial, mid-Atlantic slickness makes the Tories more potentially dangerous should they ever make an electoral comeback; at least none of "our" side, pop-culturally, could ever have been fooled by the Old Right. The current lot are, still, dangerously smooth operators (ha!) and should be seen as such.

Amy said...

Wow. Great comment - you hit the nail on the head several times. :)

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