one faint deluded smile

Monday, April 25, 2005

A Different Rip

Simon Reynolds has just released "Rip It Up And Start Again", his history of Post-Punk 1978-1984.

As I emailed to him:

in the intro he pretty much pins down how i felt, at least, about the possibilites that seemed to be in the air, ready to be caught by anyone who wanted to make the effort. there are paragraphs on end where my youthfull feelings and attitudes flooded back.

the writing's terrific - full of enthusiasm and ideas, extremely wide ranging and very easy to read (as his work normally is). i hope it goes really well for him.

ofcourse, i'm dissappointed that the Australian scene only gets a cursory mention but i can perfectly understand why he focused on the main cities and protagonists. i imagine that there must have been times when the mamouth width of the subject matter must have overwhelmed him. at this early stage of my reading it seems like he managed to fit it all in perfectly.

in any case, there's an acknowledgement in the book and there's an aussie section in the discography part 2 pdf file on the faber web site.

one thing i was reminded of : in the intro he mentions bowie and his saving of iggy with those 2 great berlin albums. my friends and i used to go and see radio birdman all the time 75-77 at "the funhouse", their grotty pub residency in darlinghurst. it was my first experience of stooges material and i've loved it all ever since. we knew all the fans and hangers on there to some extent - most went onto become members of the post-birdman bands who slavishly followed the early 70s detroit rock formula and reigned in sydney for years and years and years and years. so, a while after we stopped going to the birdman gigs, the voigt/465 crew were walking up sydney's oxford street one day just after "the idiot" was released and we met up with a bunch of these guys - all low slung jeans and manly physiques. they were carrying a copy of "low" and "the idiot" and were wailing about how bowie had ruined iggy, made him all un-rock. i think they went to a record store after that and tried to destroy all the copies of the albums they could find. they basically had the same stupidity as the UK OI! crowd, i think. we just couldn't believe that these people couldn't see how great those albums were. every friend we made in that time period had copies of those 2 records + this heat + pere ubu + scritti in their small collections.


  • Sounds like a good read, I've always enjoyed what Simon Reynolds has to say. That whole post-punk era seems to have become flavour of the month now; and rather than making me feel vindicated it makes me feel old. How can people say there are 'similarities' between Franz Ferdinand and the Gang of Four just because some engineer figured out how to rip of Andy Gill's old guitar sounds? Or between The Rapture and PiL?

    That sort of thing just tears me up inside... :-) but thanks for the info on this book, must check it out.

    By Blogger brendan, at 11:50 pm  

  • about 1/4 of the way through now and it's all hanging together nicely. excellent writing on the specifics / responses to the music itself and more detail than you're ever likely to want.

    it's been an interesting 18 months with all these early 80s rock sounds being dragged up into the charts. it sometimes becomes a matter of ignoring the shameless ripoffs and just enjoying the songs - especially with FF who, at least, are a good party band.

    By Blogger Phil, at 7:27 am  

  • I've been trying to pretend I can wait for the paperback, but I think you may have persuaded me that its just what I need to take on a trip to Dublin later this month.
    Strange to say in '81 my grandad gave me a couple of old mac's that I wore into the ground, last year my other grandad died, and today I've found myself out in the April showers in a fetching green one of his.
    I must say outside of "losing my edge", I find it hard to see the point of stuff like LCD. I think it may be something to do with baggage that came with the music at that time. Without the politics and sense of purpose it all seems a little emasculated.

    By Anonymous Ol Cheesy, at 10:50 pm  

  • 1st edition is a paperback already - no hardcover. as for the new versions of old music, i've been trying to find a recent quote from Green Gartside (from Scritti Politti) which explains my feelings about it exactly... but, no, can't find it. something about a lack of possibilities inherent in the music being made... or something like that anyway.

    By Blogger Phil, at 7:01 am  

  • Don't mean to knock the Franz, or some of the other revivalist bands - what's hateful (but inevitable) is the way vultures are jumping on what probably started as a sincere movement to resurrect a forgotten side of music.

    At first I didn't think much of LCD Soundsystem - being way too close to the character being lampooned in 'Losing My Edge' I guess - until I got the new album. Now that is forward looking stuff - it just happens to have a few 'points of reference' (read: 'cribs') from older stuff.

    I guess if the music is good and moves you, you'll excuse the derivative bits.

    By Blogger brendan, at 12:36 am  

  • simon reynolds is a great writer and i have enjoyed his other books, i think franz ferdinand are overrated, a sure sign of an impoverished scene when a band like this is getting prime time on tv and in the music press. they seem so hyped and unfortunately not much substance. i think they will be like dire straits lots of folk bought brothers in arms because it was the thing to do. Now they havent listened to it in years and it has been thrown out to a charity shop.I think this will happen to this band too.

    By Blogger countrygrrl, at 8:49 am  

  • re: FF. yep, i agree they're over-rated but, truthfully, back in the day, most of the bands that simon discusses in the 1st section of the book were fringe dwellers that occassionally got big. the ones that were popular (like FF) were just as risable. still and all, the one time i saw FF it was a great night out - not only was the music perfectly retro but so were the obvious rock moves they put on - just plain hilarious, in a laugh at them kinda way.

    By Blogger Phil, at 8:24 am  

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