Tuesday, June 06, 2006


The hit song doing the rounds at the moment is "I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair)" by Sandi Thom. I keep hearing it everywhere and musing on its meaning. The singer links 1969 and 1977 as comparable years culturally, and then opines, "I was born too late to a world that doesn't care."
Interesting thing for a young artist to say--though she comes across as a kind of young-old person found by a record company and aimed straight at older listeners. (Or very young ones--I can't work it out.)
I was there in '77. What was good about it was that it was against all manifestations of conservatism. In fact, it acknowledged no other world than its own. It tended towards the terminally dumb, of course, because it was anti-intellectual--which, thinking about it, is a form of conservatism in itself--but it demanded vitality and expected integrity, and it was resolutely against all of the assumptions and prejudices that enslaved the generations before it (and since). But it burned itself up in less than a year, as something that pure might have been expected to, and it left surprisingly little great music behind.
By the way Sandi (and if this sounds patronising forgive me: it's my natural tone), very little that was any good came out in 1969. Flower power as a vital and radical movement was over by '67, and most of the true solid-gold stone classics of the era came out in '66. By '69 everything was getting heavy musically, socially and politically, and the real creative powers were heading out to farms and cottages on windy moors to wreck their minds on LSD. I know many of these fine folks and they look back on the end of the decade with bitter regret.
But perhaps I'm taking the song too seriously.

No comments: