Before we go any further, let us get one thing clear between ourselves: I am 31 years old. It’s not a fact that adds a jaunty skip to my gait but then again it doesn’t make me want to lay down and DIE either – it is what it is, and that is just FACT. I’ve seen what Denying When You Are looks like, and it looks like Fred Durst. Given a choice between EITHER a) obsessively ringing the forthcoming week’s programmes in the TV guide and thinking Mortgages are an interesting conversation choice OR b) wearing shorts and a baseball cap and whining about being misunderstood DESPITE BEING A COMPANY DIRECTOR I know which one I would choose.

So I wonder, am I alone in this pleasant state? Surely I am not the only person EVER to appreciate that, though some things are forever now denied me (Being Allowed On Bouncy Castles; Hangover-Free Drinking; Receiving Handouts About Nightclubs in the Street), some are now MINE all MINE (Getting Served Quickly In Pubs; Guilt-Free Enjoyment of Friday Night Telly; Occasionally Voting For The Party That Wins)? Because judging by the amount of BLEATING going on it surely seems that way – how many MORE times must I hear otherwise perfectly delightful people say “Hey everybody! Let’s create a scene! Let’s support each other, and hey! Foster new talent!”

For these are the words of THE ELDERLY – Well Meaning but fundamentally WRONG, INCORRECT and WRONG. SCENES are not created, MUSICIANS only support each other if they HAVE too, and even then they are BENT ON DESTRUCTION of all those in any competition with them (anybody who denies this is either a liar or a fucking folk singer, or both), and “Talent” is something you put on display at Christmas e.g. playing the spoons. THE MIGHTY POWER OF ROCK, however, exists untrammeled, untrained and unmolested by those who seek to smother it by “guidance”.

See, here’s the thing – there IS a scene out there, there always has been and so long as THE KIDS can get their hands on something that makes a noise and a place to meet others who do the same, there always will be. The FACT that you and me don’t know about it only PROVES how healthy it is. Think back, if you can, to the halcyon days of the late eighties, when Armageddon still hung like an unhooked stage curtain above us, when a rip in the knee could be quite continental, and baggy was a boy’s best friend (NB fill in your own giddy reminiscence if this does not apply). Do you recall when YOU were part of a scene, when loads of YOUR friends were also in bands (or whatever form your funkiness took)? And do you remember there being people of your age now around and about?

Of COURSE you do – they were the ones you took the PISS out of! You slagged off their bands! You moaned about them hogging the decent gigs! YOU STOLE THEIR GUITAR LEADS! Let us be frank here old chap, you HATED THEM, just as THE KIDS now hate YOU – that is, if they know about you at all. Go on, try it out – put on a Battle Of The Bands as an exercise is encouraging young talent, I would wager realistic cash-flavoured MONEY that at some point you will describe someone as having “attitude” and being “tight” AND MEAN IT AS A COMPLEMENT. Oh come ON, you must remember when that happened? When the old sods always gave the prizes to Those Most Like Themselves?

Look, here is a Futuristic Brain Hologram of the event – there at the front are the Old (but well-meaning) Sods, shaking hands with the “soulful singer” of The Whetstone Blues Travellers (or whoever), with their Slap Bass Player smiling all the while. And those young scamps at the back? Why, that’s You! And your MATES! COMPLAINING bitterly about how shit it all is, and how old twats like this will be destroyed one day, SWEARING you will never EVER clog up ROCK in this way.

Fast forward fifteen years and OH MY! It is YOU standing at the front, and just because you are shaking hands with one of the Fashion Children from THE STROKES doesn’t mean it is ANY different. They’ve got “attitude” haven’t they? And look at those haircuts! The witless remarks about “keeping it real”- that’s how a REAL band should be isn’t it? Or perhaps it’s some “urban” “collective” with their FRIGHTFULLY innovative use of technology to whom you are giving the Vouchers Worth Two Days In A Professional Studio? Does it MATTER? IT IS THE SAME. You have BECOME the people you used to LOATHE, and are doing EXACTLY the same thing.

But hey, don’t feel bad, you ENJOY your White Stripes or what have you, it’s FINE. The KIDS have their own things now. Why, just a couple of weeks ago I caught a glimpse of an ACTUAL GIG! There were five bands playing for free – I’ve been to these before, HECK, I have played enough of them, but this was different. Foor one thing, the room was PACKED. Everybody DIDN’T know each other, but absolutely EVERYONE was going MENTAL. The bands were sharing equipment (because they had to), the sexes and races were all mixed up, and there was a JOY in the air that I only very vaguely remembered from when I first started my crazy journey into the heart of sound all those many years ago. The music itself, of course, sounded absolutely APPALLING, like some half-arsed Endsleigh League Punk from 1979 with a dash of the second wave of GRUNGE drizzled atop it, but WORSE, but then I would think that wouldn’t I?

I left them to it, and went round the corner for a Quiet Pint, safe in the knowledge that THE KIDS are doing fine. There IS a scene out there somewhere, but time makes REVERSO QUANTUM OBSERVERS of us all, and to even try to see into it would be to destroy it. We shall know it when it finally arrives in the mainstream, fear not, for we will BLOODY HATE IT.

MJ Hibbett