Sunday, 6 April 2008

Reformation April 6

Reformation 06

It was Duran Duran that did it. “Are you going to Duran Duran?” someone asked with unrestrained excitement in their voice. “Such an iconic 80s band!”
And that was it. I threw my head back and howled. About how not iconic Duran Duran is. How they were an extremely light weight bunch of gits who put out ridiculous pop songs and spent far too much time putting highlights in their hair and poncing around in white linen suits to even make a dent in musical history. Has everyone forgotten this fact?
Apparently. Next someone will be telling me that Queen were such a great 80s band with that fabulous hit Fat Bottomed Girls, or that The Police were hot with that song Roxanne which young men insisted on singing falsetto ad nauseum and WHAM deserve a place in rock and roll history for Wake Me Up Before You Go Go.
These bands are not iconic, nor were they cool. Stop making my 80s memories angry.
Everyone has an era that is precious to them. A few years where you were young, wild, free and finally understanding what life was all about. And for most of us it was when we were in our early 20s before kids, travel and mortgages intruded on our reckless hedonism.
For me it was 1980 to 1985 when I went to Jazzercise class three times a week, had a great job, great flat, great boyfriend and loved my music. Which wasn’t Duran Duran. It was The Clash, the Cure, Violent Femmes, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Prince, the Eurythmics and the B52s to name a few. For post punk 20-year-olds the pop song was dead and would never be revived if we had our way.
Until now. I have no objection to a bunch of middle-aged people wishing to relive the 80s in their search for music they can relate to. I accept that since the 80s there hasn’t been a lot of great music made, although I actually prefer the stuff the 70s produced and spend far too much time listening to Van Morrison than is healthy.
But in their haste to relive the 80s do they have to only remember the stuff that floated to the top. The Duran Duran flotsam and jetsam. Perhaps the problem lies in the fact that these very people who turn up enthusiastically and pay out their hundred bucks for tickets were dorks in the 80s and still are. So you can’t really blame Duran Duran for meeting the demand. I’m sure 20 years ago they were quite happy to slink off to their country estates and hope the world quickly forgot the pop crap they had created. But what person approaching 50 and staring down the tunnel of life at the dim flame of retirement, would turn down a bit of cash to squeeze into some tight pants and hum a few tunes or bash a drum or two.?
And what fickle people make up their audience. How conveniently they forget that many of these bands broke up because they could no longer stand the sight of each other and swore they’d never play again. One can only wonder at the superior vision the fast talking promoter created as he convinced them all to have another go. The grim determination on the face of the drummer who hasn’t earned one cent of song writing royalties in the last two decades, squaring up to the lead singer who has, and what’s more is still with the model the two fought over when the band broke up. And so there they are, non iconic 80s bands parroting the terrible songs and struggling to remember words which their fans know off by heart.
The other reason these bands get back together is because that solo career just didn’t quite work out did it Sting with the release of your album of 16th century lute songs? I wonder how many people who rocked out to The Police concerts in January listened to that little gem.
It is true that some of my 80s iconic bands have reformed and I have simply chosen not to see them. The Cure’s Robert Smith used to be hot. He’s not now according to one reviewer who described him as looking “dead and bloated.” He’s old and fat, just like me. I don’t want to make my 80s memories angry.
So next time someone suggests I pay good money to see a crap supposedly iconic 80s band, I’ll simply reply that they belong where my Jazzercise high kick belongs…with my angry 80s memories.

Illustration by Anthony Ellison

No comments: