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Glee, And The Tragic Number

Stuart Bailie | 18:24 UK time, Saturday, 29 May 2010

So my youngest children are footering around on the internet and they fetch up this half-familiar recording. It's an old classic from back in the day, but shockingly drained of vim and fun and bravado. It takes me a minute to guess the provenance of the tune. Hold on, is this 'Dancing With Myself'?

Yes it is, but not as the old folks know it. They may have jolted their punk rock joints around to this in 1980, when Generation X were making one of their last declarative statements. The singer was Billy Idol, he of the peroxide flat-top and the perma-curl lip. Billy had been part of the Bromley Contingent, who had followed the Sex Pistols around in the early days. He was already willing himself into a cartoon rebel, but there was still some value in the transition.

Now here's a rotten version of the song from the Glee series. I'm not a habitual viewer, but it seems like something lightweight and repellent. The cast can do what they want with a silly old Voyager tune, but hey children, leave our punk alone.

So the next time I'm driving the family in the car, I make them listen to Generation X. They look confused, and say they prefer the Glee version. I am appalled.

"But the Glee version is great," they argue. "It has a guy in a wheelchair and everything."

I tell them about Billy Idol and his careless ways on a motorbike - resulting in a in a mangled leg that obliged the rocker to perform on crutches for a while. They seem impressed, but not converted.

Thus emboldened, I zip forward a few tracks on the punk compilation. I play them Splodgenessabounds, another Bromley combo with their anthemic plea, 'Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps Please'. This is their turn to look aghast.

"That's not real music!" they wail.

Some day, they will understand.



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