THE KINKS – “Village Green Preservation Society” (from the album, The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society)
The Kinks are where pop “Englishness” starts, as a definable – and therefore marketable – thing. Ray Davies’ witty, affectionate portraits of dandies, lovers, and loafers leading their small English lives are as charmingly iconic as any 60s snapshot you could mention – and have just as little relevance to England today. Even the famous Kinks’ songs tend to sound stiff and a bit quaint, and while it’s not Davies’ fault that his lightly ironic tone was ripped off so much in the mid-90s, it hasn’t exactly helped his songs either. All that said, “Village Green” is cracking stuff, a jaunty procession of idiotic conservative quangoes scrabbling to protect the English way of life. We know – and Davies probably knew too – that this Bufton Tuftonish tendency would in reality preserve all it holds dear by gutting all that the rest of us hold dear. But for a song’s length at least it’s possible to half-sympathise with them.