Kingdom of the Blind

"One way of feeling infallible is not to keep a diary."
- George Orwell

It looks like I'll be around over christmas after all. I'll be spending the time looking for contracts in Eastern Europe and bits of the Russian Federation - when not overeating christmassy foods and watching the abominable christmassy TV while trying to digest them,

Whether I have any money over christmas depends on the mood of the "jobsearch" "advisor" who will "interview" me tomorrow. My reserves of patience with bureaucracy, phony training schemes and people with policy instead of brains is at an all time low, so being polite and diplomatic will be a challenge.

A small Marxist Forum last night, on "The Roots of Racism". All familiar territory - how "race" is a pseudoscientific notion originally created to justify the African slave trade, and how racism is an example of "divide and rule", later revived and modified into national or religious forms when governments need scapegoats.

There was the traditional newbie question on whether freedom of speech should extend to fascists - as though there were no fundamental difference between debating the merits of Anthony Trollope with a literary critic...and debating the merits of genocide with someone who doesn't believe you have the right to an opinion and thinks you'd look good in a gas chamber.

There were also the equally traditional mad questions from the traditional mad comrade - in this case "Should all black folks be socialists?" and "My half caste acquaintances are always making fun of me so isn't that black-on-white racism?". Insert emoticon of eyes rolling.

The "freedom of speech" thing was obviously about the Oxford union being controversial ("brave") for the sake of it by inviting a British fascist and a holocaust denier to "debate" with it. Protesters more-or-less prevented the debate and the newspapers are full of sanctimonious editorials about how reason is the way to defeat racism, not censorship.

Evidently written by journalists who (a) don't grasp the difference between racism and fascism, and (b) have never tried to reason someone out of racism. It's exactly like trying to reason someone out of religion or patriotism.

Is it that 80s pop music was brilliant, or is it just that it looks brilliant next to almost everything since?

Or is it that creativity is like a fluid, of which there is a fixed quantity, and can only exist within a few genres at a time, and which around 1990 moved into genres that I haven't heard of, but should probably search out?

Or am I just nostalgic for my teen years, latching onto whatever was on the airwaves at the time? Which would be odd, as I hated pretty much everything about the time.

Or do we just only remember the good bits?

Nah, I reckon the 80s was a great time for music. It was a horrible time for everything else - politics, AIDS, nuclear paranoia, recession etc. But if you were into computers, music, and music made with computers, it was...invigorating.

Which is why I've been pigging out on synthpop, electropop, technopop, elecroclash, electro, new romantic, neu-romantik, new wave, post punk, krautrock...and probably a dozen other overlapping categories of disposable-but-immortal music from the time you could have guitars and synths in the same band, and musicians didn't have to be young and pretty to be on TV...but usually were anyway,

I must try and make some more of it.

1 comment:

  1. I always enjoy your musings on racism; always enlightening.

    I'm somewhat annoyed by the BBC who seem to be evolving into a tele-visual Daily Mail. I've become used to them beginning reports with inflammatory statements, qualifying them with, "...that's according to..." But their piece on Polish and other foreign children leaching the education budget this morning blew my mind.

    What do you think about this?

    Also, the 80s was a special period and the end of the evolution of pop music, thus far, at any rate. Since the 80s, music has ceased to be an art form and is now an industry. The only pap to be put out, by and large, is that which the industry sees will or does work and thereby everything is either based on the past or the contemporary sound.

    Everything that's old is new again. I'm all for recycling, but this is ridiculous.