Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Lots of reading recently; the Guardian is going through a purple patch at the moment, with great recent articles by Jon Ronson and Michael Moore, an interview with Rod Liddle and more besides. The new Martin Amis novel - Yellow Dog - is deliciously Amisian, as was the following exchange, reported in the Guardian

On Friday's Night Waves (Radio 3), Martin Amis talked movingly about getting older, writing, and smoking. He was brittle and brilliant on the subject of hostile reviews from younger writers. "The Matts, the Nats, and Theos and Jeds... I only have to see these Christian names to know I'm going to get a stinking review. If they're called Brett or Toby, I've had it. They're Christian names and I'm a surname in the most horribly resonant way."

And still enjoying, though still perplexed by the musical references, Blissblog.

I sometimes think I would rather read about music than listen to it - there are many bands who I have read about and felt transfixed by the idea of, who in reality have in some way failed to meet the expectation I had; have not matched up to the hyperbole of their reviews. I don't mean rubbish like The Libertines or The White Stripes who are talked up and never deliver, but the kind of bands whose description summons up oblique and unfamiliar concepts which are out of the realm my experience.

So when I read about the icy robotic future-funk of Kraftwerk I imagined something very different to what I heard (and liked) later on. Later still I heard a little known group called Clatterbox who sounded exactly as I expected Kraftwerk to sound. That doesn't happen very often. You can't get their record now but I'll copy it for you if you ask. Still - imagined music can be more real that the real thing, and the real thing a disappointment - witness The Residents, Van der Graaf Generator, Lee Scratch Perry, Pole, 'Sandanista' by the Clash, early Detroit Techno, OutKast, Syd Barrett, Aaliyah.

That's not to say that those artists aren't (sometimes) brilliant, but they sounded better when I was just imagining their 'electronic dub / pyschadelia / pre-punk prog / progressive hip hop etc. Anyway. Looking again at Blissblog I notice that Simon Reynolds says of a piece of writing...

Course I'd much rather prefer to read this description than actually listen to a Dillinja record these days

So it's not just me. Anyway, spent much of last night listening to Dizzee Rascal and the convoluted point to all this is.... that his record is every bit as magnificent as the writing of Reynolds and Alexis Petridis led me to expect.

No comments: