A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Even for someone like me whose single step would preferably be into the back of a chauffeur driven, mini-bar equipped limousine, this holds. The reason I bring up this trite aphorism? Because, dear reader, I never got round to Pavement.
There are good reasons for this. In all my hatred of music, man and machine made, I hold a special fear for one kind of music. The music of idiots. Malkmus’ merry band of men(ks) fit so readily into this group that it was always unclear where to start. Equally just when my ire was raised to breaking point they went and did the most decent thing a band can do (bar die in a plane crash) and split up. This act of generousity won them what can only be described as goodwill. But now Malkmus is out them making the same kind of half-arsed racket with some band called the Jicks I feel I can call off the dogs no more. I just hope no-one calls the RSPCA on me.
Imagine the school orchestra in a special school for the uncoordinated. Now imagine the kids left out of the band. You have just imagined the nascient form of Pavement. Now imagine that their racket needs some sort of form, some sort of template to aim at so at least there is a goal for this unendurable racket to equate to. Imagine that goal was The Fall.
In an entry regarding the Fall a few years ago I mentioned that Mark E. Smith’s plagarism paranoia was hardly served by being primarily fed by Pavement. This insult works both ways. Of all the singularly unsuccessful bands one could rip off, The Fall seems worse than picking – say Stiff Little Fingers. Grumpy, discordant, generally unlistenable; Pavement took this fomula and copied it to the letter – possibly leaving out the grumpy bit. This made no change to the unlistenable bit.
To pick a song at random: Cut Your Hair. A fine sentiment, one which could have applied to many of their peers at the time. But then you examine the faux-stream-of-consciousness* ramble and discover that it suggests that you should not cut your hair. Because it is another song about being in a band. Like the world needs more songs on that subject.
HOW TO WRITE A PAVEMENT SONG:
1: Start the tape.
2: Drop your instruments.
3: Stop the tape.
Never was there a more aptly named album than Terror Twilight, at least they stuck to their word. It was the end of the horror they inflicted on us. The profligacy of Pavement was enough to almost make me agoraphobic, for fear of accidentally stumbling on yet another Pavement Album. In the end I just used to stay in the pub. In the end, who would name their band after the place where the dogs crap?
*Faux as you could never be quite clear if Malkmus was ever truly conscious for most of these recording sessions.