Posts from 7th November 2007

Nov 07

Kogan on Frere-Jones

FT3 comments • 361 views

I know a few weeks is an eternity in blogging time, but it’s worth drawing some attention to Frank Kogan’s intervention in the Sasha Frere-Jones/Carl Wilson ‘problem with indie’ debate that was raging a fortnight or so ago. He makes some hugely pertinent points, especially about one particular elephant in the room – the fact that in yr actual mainstream pop charts, “crosstown traffic” is alive and well: “An answer to the question “Why isn’t black music the model for today’s bohemia?” could be “because it’s the model for the modern mainstream.” “

And if you’d rather pull your own teeth than think any more about this subject then there’s some great no-meta critical stuff on the Stones in the piece’s first half too.

If / Then

FT + The Brown Wedge5 comments • 689 views

Rewards and Fairies was Rudyard Kipling’s follow-up to his extremely successful Puck Of Pook’s Hill, though it’s best-known now for containing Britain’s Best-Loved Poem, aka “If-“. My last encounter with that poem – a fairly typical encounter I would suggest – was reading it in gigantic blown-up form on the wall of a senior executive at work. This executive lived up to the poem admirably – or at least, I like to think that if he’d ever encountered triumph he’d have resigned over that too.

In the context of its parent book, “If-” regains a degree of shine. It’s the postscript to the first half of a story whose hero is a smuggler, born in England with family in France, raised in America by newly-freed colonists, trained there by Iroquois. Kipling tied his end-poems quite closely to the tales they accompanied, and so “If-” was certainly intended to be a kind of moral summary of the story of “Brother Square-Toes”. That being so, its most likely reference point isn’t the boy hero (who does little but observe), but George Washington, who in the story is resolved on an unpopular peace policy with the English during their war with revolutionary France. So there’s an “If-” factoid for you, if you want one: this poem, much-referenced as a paean to Englishness, is in fact a panegyric to the man who masterminded England’s single greatest military catastrophe.


GEORGE McCRAE – “Rock Your Baby”

FT + Popular70 comments • 7,631 views

#353, 27th July 1974

Oh George!The high tide of glam goes out and soul music fills the gap, but soul is changing. Disco is heavenly music – it rests on a belief in the eternal (the groove), and decrees that such an eternity must be filled with sweetness… and if you weren’t a believer, its rewards might well have seemed like life-sapping monotony, the false paradise of a sinister cult.