This Guardian Film and Music article by Matt Bolton will make you laugh, if it doesn’t depress you. For those who have no time to depress themselves to the fullest extent, here are a selection of quotes from ‘Class war on the dancefloor’:
“I think having working-class roots does mean better songs as they are songs the majority can relate to,” he told the Sun. “If you live in a castle, you’re going to write about living in a castle and who wants to hear a fucking song about a castle?”
“You’ve got to be careful, because you can damage the credibility of your indie label if you force them to put out some crap you’ve just signed. But it’s about putting the band in context for the media and for fans. If you put them out on a certain indie label, it puts them into the context and aesthetic of that label, and leads people to think they must be similar to their other bands. It doesn’t even matter what they sound like – it’s all just codes and clues as to what you’re trying to do.”
“I always thought the point about rock music was transformation, about becoming something different, something other, something glamorous, something inspiring, and that means stepping outside your allotted class role if you can. But bands like Oasis or Paul Weller just encouraged a lot of kids just to stay in their roles, and that kind of social realism is very trite and very dull.”
These views seem to rest on randomly selecting a few indie groups and then lining half up as posh public school, and half as working class reactionaries straight out of the local comp. The proponents’ approach is uniformly specious in their willingness to disregard the range of independent music in the 21st century and in refusing to think about, to take just one obvious example, the Arctic Monkeys – like or loathe them, you have to admit that they sit in neither of these two camps, but are well-placed to take the mickey out of an industry whose marketing is as crass as this article suggests.
Jon Savage (owner of the third quote) has form here, for he is not letting on about his own prejudices, laid out as long ago as England’s dreaming, if not before. He might espouse a desire for us all to attain a state of classlessness in which artistic expression is allowed free reign, but he has always favoured the art school over those who left school at fourteen without any qualifications, and he’s always had it in for Paul Weller; to say that Weller (or even Noel Gallagher) ‘encouraged a lot of kids just to stay in their roles’ is patently daft – he was constantly attempting to evade the limitations with which others liked to saddle him, and in that any perceptive observer would see a suggestion that his fans should do likewise. I don’t even need to mention the Style Council, do I?