Sunday, 13 April 2008
Turning Rebellion into money
In the latest issue of The Word David Hepworth reiterates the usual free market line that the present form of late capitalism is inevitable and therefore desirable. We all “sell out” so we shouldn’t criticise the Rock and Pop musician who do the same. Now I am no wide eyed idealist but I am feed up with the tired triumphalism of the present status quo. It’s all over the place it says “we can buy off Dylan and Costello, but you know what we’ll also say we use to like the Smiths and even Billy Bragg”, and “ oh and if we mess up we’ll be bailed out by the government and still get £750,000 pay off”. You can hear it every time a phone company adopts your favourite tune to sell another need less phone plan or when your favourite artist or film maker’s work is used to sell processed cheese.
Hepworth isn’t entirely consistent in his position as recently on the his own blog/podcast he was decrying the corporate folderol of sport, fire works, flags, branded stages etc. Do the same rules not apply to hair gel ads on screens at gigs or Dylan ads for thongs? Maybe being an insider of the music industry has relieved him and others of any delusions of that milieu and yet they still like to dream of experiencing their sporting heroes in a purer less money orientated way.
There are lots are reasons why “Born to run”, “Ace of spades”, “Jumping jack flash”, sound compelling, one of them is the myth that the person who wrote it was an outsider. This myth is as important as the myth of the free market, ironically it’s the reason Tom Waits sells more copies of the Word than Dido. Myths and legends are important it’s not deluded to put some store in them, the world of the imagination is necessary to us all; it doesn’t mean we don’t live in the real world, it means we inhabit two.
Most of the things we cherish most in life aren’t valued for their sale price on E-bay. The un-edifying experience of capitalism rubbing our faces in it is just depressing. Finally does anyone really need birthday card of a junky from your granny and oh do you want Toblerone for a £1 with that madam……
Ps the cards were on sale in a branch of Smiths in the City of London