So I’m in a band (details on my section of the About page if you’re interested, which you might be, theoretically). What I intend is to discuss something which I have observed, which has happened to me and which may well have occurred to other people in local bands. It is a conversation that I have had several times with numerous well-meaning yet distant relatives and neighbours, which usually progresses as follows:
Person: So you’re in a band now then? What are you called?
Person: Ok, what sort of music do you play then?
Me: Erm…I’m not entirely sure, I just like to play about with my mates and see what comes out. If I had to nail it down, probably sort of punk/garage rock.
Person: Right, so do reckon you can make a living out of that then?
Me: Not right now. Maybe one day, but that’s not really why we’re doing it.
Usually at this point the person will make a face like Dougal in Father Ted, lack of comprehension is apparent then follows a look of realisation so immediate it could be followed with ‘Eureka!’
Person: I know what you should do - it’d be really good for you.
Me: What’s that then?
Person: You should go on Britain’s Got Talent
. Usually by now I've spotted where this is going, but part of me always hangs onto the hope that that particular loved one won't turn out to be another fucking pod-person (they always do though). The first time I was dumbstruck - you know when someone says something so stupid you literally have no idea how to respond? That was me, but now I've built up an immunity.
Me: Ah, thanks, maybe we’ll look into that. Cheers.
Now, maybe I’m a bit of a dick for being so short with a person who’s only trying to take an interest and be helpful, but you know, I’ve always denied there was such a thing as “Broken Britain” until that conversation first happened. There is not just the one option for a person that wants to express himself creatively, and even if there were, that one option would not be going on an ITV talent show.
As I said, success and money are not really the main goal for me; I just love doing what I’m doing and playing noisy music in a band with my best mates. People do seem to enjoy what we do and if enough of them supported us that we could do it full time, I wouldn’t complain. However, I think we’ll do far better at that on our own than we would by whoring ourselves to a TV show that hates bands (seriously, how many can you remember making a final?) because we’d be surrendering one of the most important things an underground artist can have - namely integrity and total creative control.
Rant over. I shall leave you with an excellent music video by Hey!Hello!, the latest band from Ginger Wildheart, which illustrates my thinking most eloquently, and could be the best punk song I’ve heard for many a year.
P.S. Has this conversation happened to anybody else? Tell me I’m not the only one. Answers on a postcard please – or the comments section below the post. That works too.