Monday, December 28, 2009


Ah Paul Morley! Sometimes I imagine Paul Morley as a Dickens character, stamping down the high street in a long coat with a pack of laughing children in his trail. "Begone, you foul urchins" I imagine him crying.

Morley has made a career out of intellectualising pop music. I do not mean he has written books and theses about the use of harmony in the Beatles or analysis of chord structures in the modern hit. No. Morley makes his money by writing pretentiously about music. Witness his latest about Simon Cowell.

Frankly, all that need be said about Cowell is "that turd!" because although he made his dough as a music entrepreneur of sorts, his fame is derived from being a wanker on the box. (And so successful is he at being a turd that he has spawned an imitator here in Australia: Kyle Sandilands, a man who so successfully personifies "arsehole" that they could print his picture in the dictionary.)

But that would never do for Morley. It's a truth about him that he always has more to say. It was somewhat fitting in the early eighties, when we were all dreadfully serious about music, but the purveyors of pap have ground us down now and we are willing to admit that all we care about is a nice tune and a beat we can tap our toes to.

It's apt that Morley is writing also about Rage Against the Machine, who have also made themselves wealthy by being achingly pretentious. Yah, they're smashing the system. By signing to Epic. Reading guitarist Tom Morello's explanation of why it's perfectly okay for indie rebels to sign to a major is enough to make you grind your teeth, but it boils down to "it's the best way to convey our message to teh kidz". That message is "don't collaborate with teh Man". Yah, you show teh Man Tom. Nothing says rebellion like a Hollywood villa you fly to first class.

Such is entertainment. Clowns writing about clowns (and yes, here I am, a clown writing about a clown writing about clowns). It's all vitally important. The world will, count on it, stop turning if we stop yelling "omg Simon Cowell" and meanwhile, in Iraq, people blow each other to Paradise in the name of another delusion.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it very difficult to believe that you include yourself in that "we" who has been ground down by pap and only care about a nice tune with a beat.

That you like a tune with a beat, yeah, but never pap, surely? You'd be seeing snow out your window right now first.

December 28, 2009 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Dr Zen said...

It's all relative. There's nothing much all that exciting these days, and I'm pretty sure that's not just a function of my age.

December 28, 2009 at 1:54 PM  

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