Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Harmony in my Head

There’s a harmony in my head today; the song and the ringing in my ears. Never again will I mock those who go to concerts with earplugs again. Went to see The Buzzcocks last night at this tiny venue La Maroquinerie in the 20th; me, Jim and all the old (or not so old) Punks of Paris. While the support band –with Che Guevara look-a-like lead singer – made the floor vibrate beneath us, we sat supping beers in the garden reminiscing of the days when we hunt sabbed, read LM magazine and in Jim’s case Class War. I guess Class War did have some kind of following then, because in the old days I used to think they were the biggest joke on earth. The average reading age of their following seemed to be about seven and their politics seemed to be aimed at that age range as well. At the time I knew the secretary of the South West branch who seemed to spend most of his time having the piss taking out of him mercilessly, especially as he never seemed to know when the meetings were and he was bound over on a good behaviour bond; so much for Class War.

But back to Punk, yep. The majority of us there were too young to have lived through it. We were still wearing flares and listening to Disco when Johnny Rotten and co played that famous gig in Manchester. And how do we know about that? 24 hour Party People has filled in our missing memories. But we still dress in the drain pipe jeans and Doc Martens and leap around in the mosh pit like teenagers.

When Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle these two old cockney geezers came on stage it seemed like Punk had grown up and got fat around the waist and jowls. Are they an embodiment of what all our ideals have grown up to be? Back then when we thought we could change the world and now we’re working full time, own property and have grown cynical.

Still it has made me think. When LM lost their libel case against ITN and went into bankruptcy it seems that yet another ideal was lost. The remaining subscription for the magazine was returned and we were left in a bit of a vacuum. I don’t really know where my political ideals are, but LM certainly used to make me think about what I believed in. It questioned everything and presented things in such a way as to force the reader to come to some kind of personal conclusion, not necessarily that held by the writer. Where is that kind of journalism now? I spend a lot of time listening to Radio 4 nowadays, and while the shows raise issues and presents information, in the end it’s a lot of background noise.

So it seems the ringing in my ears is a kind of warning bell. Perhaps its time to start exercising the political side again and finding out what is going on in that world outside Radio 4 and France 2 news. LM has turned into the Institute of Ideas and maybe I should see what some of those ideas are.

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