I arrived for lunch at The Woodman like a hero. Apparently the Kronenbourg 1664 pipe had just been cleaned (just for me) and Carry on Wayward Son by Kansas is blaring out in the background – on of my all-time favourite tunes. The overall experience is only sullied slightly by the sound of one of the older regulars who likes occasionally to clear his throat (and possibly his lungs!) in the loudest and most mucousy way possible.

Then comes I’m a Believer by The Monkees and my heroic mood subsides at the sheer beige-ness of the music.

Tiny Dancer by Elton John grinds its heels into the charred remains of my former elation and I’m back to trying to pick out distant conversations while people-watching over my notebook.

Oh fuck! Cat Stevens!

I don’t know the name of the song but I know it and I hate it. He was the archetypal merchant of what someone once described as ‘music for bed-wetters’. I’d rope a fair few other ‘artists’ into that category, including the current apotheosis, Ed Sheeran. On the one hand, I’m happy that an average-looking and gawky bloke can have the opportunity to be the biggest pop star in the world without having to trade on looks, but on the other, did he have to do it all with such bland music?

Ah, Creedence Clearwater Revival improves things, ‘I wanna know, did you ever feel the rain…’

This is what was commonly referred to once as a ‘Choon!’ – an exclamatory ejaculation best delivered out of a car window with the stereo cranked up to 10!

Unfortunately, most people seem to play shit choons this way. I mean, when was the last time that some idiot pulled up at the traffic lights with music blaring, and you wanted them to turn it up some more?

Come on Eileen by Dexy’s Midnight Runners.

Hated it in 1982 when it topped the hit parade, but now it’s a part of the nostalgic landscape (or soundscape).

Bollocks! Returning from the loo, UB40’s Red, Red, Wine (whine?) has just started. Regardless of the decade though, I’ve always thought that they were the sound of boredom. Maybe it’s just because that reggae rhythm seems to be the same for every song in the genre – or is that the point of it? Just something to nod your head to while you get high?

The music then subsides and my next pint is slipping down to the accompaniment of the raucous braying from a bunch of young suits at the first table in the restaurant area next door.

Suddenly I’m hoping for more UB40 to drown out their noise…

(And yes, the sobriety only lasted 11 days!)

The Beat(en) Generation…

Some songs are timeless:

When you cast your eyes upon the skylines of this …
Once proud nation
Can you sense the fear and the hatred
Growing in the hearts of it’s population?

And our youth, oh youth, are being seduced
By the greedy hands of politics and half truths

The beaten generation, the beaten generation
Reared on a diet of prejudice and misinformation
The beaten generation, the beaten generation
Open your eyes, open your imagination

We’re being sedated by the gasoline fumes
And hypnotised by the satellites
Into believing what is good and what is right

You may be worshipping the temples of mammon
Or lost in the prisons of religion
But can you still walk back to happiness
When you’ve nowhere left to run?

If they send in the special police
To deliver us from evil and keep us from peace

Then won’t the words sit ill upon their tongues
When they tell us justice is being done
That freedom lives in the barrels of a warm gun?

The beaten generation, the beaten generation
Reared on a diet of prejudice and misinformation
The beaten generation, the beaten generation
Open your eyes, open your imagination

Let’s monetise motherfuckers!

6540698a-e056-4522-bf21-66c2c79eaa96It looks like Classic Rock magazine, and my old favourite, Metal Hammer have been saved from closure. I still buy the former but haven’t bothered with the latter since the commemorative Lemmy issue. As a youngster, though, it was a big favourite.

All good news for rock and metal fans I’m sure, but they’ve already let loads of their staff go – will there be jobs for them I wonder?

Of minor concern in comparison is what I assume is from the press release from Future, the new owners:

“The acquisition of these classic rock brands with their associated magazines, events and websites marks a further step in our buy and build strategy […] it further reinforces our creation of a leading global specialist media platform with data at its heart, which we are monetising through diversified revenue streams. We look forward to developing further these iconic and much-loved brands and to continuing to serve their communities of dedicated enthusiasts around the world.”

It doesn’t even read as English, let alone rock ‘n’ roll: It’s the kind of dense and wanky media speak that I thought had died out back in the nineties with Gus Hedges and Drop the Dead Donkey.

Still, ‘rock on’ and all that…