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jamie reid in conversation with billy childish
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comment by Christian Bodart Sep 10, 2004I spit on you Carter and your unstoppable soundbyte machine
and then I'll apologise politely because this is Aunties House.
i think Ried's art is as dated as the Pistols' which is much less than you media fashion types would like to believe on Tuesdays, Wdnesdays and Thursdays and more than on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
As for Mondays well we all know noone likes those so your opinion is moot on mondays.
comment by liquidindian Sep 11, 2004The Sex Pistols do sound dated to me, and I don't think they deserve their revered place in music history. Culturally, maybe, but I don't know for sure as it's a little before my time. But the garage bands before them, like The Sonics, sound more vibrant to me, while some of their contemporaries such as The Clash are more interesting and innovative.
comment by amir Sep 11, 2004So what if they sound dated? The Beatles sound dated, T-Rex sound dated - that's not the point. The point with the Pistols is what they kicked into action. Their initial spark set off a period of creativity and action so great that the reverberations are still being felt now.
comment by Rhys Tranter Sep 11, 2004I am absolutely serious here: about fifteen minutes ago I was browsing around my music collection for something I haven't listened to in awhile.
I choose 'Never mind the Boll*cks' by the Sex Pistols, and came downstairs: turned on the computer and came on here. Just as 'God Save the Queen' began I saw the single art in one of the columns of the site and found the Jamie Reid article.
What a strange coincidence! Anyway, I haven't listened to this album in six months and it still stirs something up in me.
I'm willing to conceed that the music is dated in one way, but no more than The Clash, The Beatles, or The Smiths, or Kraftwerk or Godknows how many other groups. But despite the fact that the culture that created the Pistols created an urgency in the music that no longer - perhaps - has the same impact: they are still a vital band.
The Sex Pistols shaped all that was to follow. They were urgent, they were acerbic, they were dangerous. While the Clash were rocking the cashbah with comical videos and 'subtle political commentary', the Pistols were screaming of 'throbbing f*cking squirms', holidays to belsen and potential H-bombs
I don't want to take anything away from the Clash, because I hate reviews that boost the status of one group by criticizing another: but I think that to dismiss a band that inspired groups like Buzzcocks, Nirvana and (my personal favourite) Joy Division to take to the stage deserve their place in history. Music history and cultural history.
comment by Christian Bodart Sep 11, 2004here here (to all comments), the Pistols *do* sound dated, partly because a good deal of their genius was not musical talent but attitude and originality (I nearly said 'novelty' but that's a word for music now not so much then). They also have been both copied and(musically) improved upon (updated) which (as I mentioned in another recent post about Franz Ferdinand http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/collective/F98406?thread=... ) has the effect of making them sound dated.
Jamie Reid has perhaps had less 'updating' because (arguably) as an artist he captures that attitude and orginality of the Pistols in a more obvious and singular fashion. But (and I'm not well versed in art history so I'm prepared to be shot down on this) thing's like the Chapman's brothers Defacing Goya ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/collective/A1024282... ) look exactly like an 'update' of early Reid to me with the added smoke and mirrors of the scandal of real defacement to hide the plagiarism. After all Goya like, say, an image of the queen are both cultural iconography [not the right word] and defacing them is ultimately a materialistic update of the spiritual/psychological rebellion of Reid.
Personally I think as I suggested that both do seem 'dated' but as Reid is still artistically active and producing some great stuff (see his website http://www.jamiereid.uk.net/pages/8fold.html... ) there is a thread of continuity in his work that keeps it both alive and less prone to 'updating' by rip-off artists (to use the article's vernacular), imitators and updators.
comment by Rhys Tranter Sep 12, 2004"...the Pistols *do* sound dated, partly because a good deal of their genius was not musical talent but attitude and originality. They also have been both copied and improved upon which has the effect of making them sound dated."
I agree that the Sex Pistols were not the most talented of bands: quite the contrary, they were a band that thrived on the idea of the everyman getting up on stage and having a go himself. The phrase "I hate Pink Floyd" springs to mind. I also agree that the Sex Pistols sound dated now that we are viewing them within a different cultural context. For instance, upon the re-release of 'God Save the Queen' in 2002 no one really batted an eyelid. Why? Because when originally released, the single symbolised a dangerous rebellion against the established norms within society. Now everyone accepts the queen not so much with grace, but with indifference. The Sex Pistols and a whole host of other events influenced this cataclysmic change in opinions, this mass apathy and so there is no way that the same effect could be expected. Sure, we still get flag-waving fanatics dotted around the place, but they're getting sparser all the time.
So the band are dated. But I disagree that it is their attitude or their originality that make them so. Originality is what keeps them fresh, and their attitudes came to represent a punk ethic that is - to some (the late Kurt Cobain springs to mind) - still very much alive. That's not really my point though.
The part I really disagree with is the idea of 'improving' on the music. The punk movement of the late 70s was never about musical talent as such, and it was never about skill: it was about being heard as you were, raw and up-close. You can only improve on that which is clearly defined: jumping over bars, or running along a track. You cannot improve upon the Sex Pistols because the track they ran along was their own; they didn't pander to comparisons. Only pets win prizes.
"Jamie Reid has perhaps had less 'updating' because as an artist he captures that attitude and orginality of the Pistols in a more obvious and singular fashion."
I just don't understand this. First of all, visual art and music are completely different mediums, which makes categorisation pretty tricky stuff. But it's not just that. I agree that Jamie Reid captures attitude and originality, but do the Sex Pistols not achieve the same levels but through the medium of music? I was always under the impression that Reid's artistry held a gritty DIY mirror to the music the Pistols were creating.
"Personally I think as I suggested that both do seem 'dated' but as Reid is still artistically active and producing some great stuff, there is a thread of continuity in his work that keeps it both alive and less prone to 'updating' by rip-off artists."
If Reid is still an active artist, that does not make his artwork form the 1970s any more or any less dated: it is what it is, a product of the culture that created it. Like the Sex Pistols, either it is in some way relevant to us today or it is not. The fact that there is a continuity in his work sounds troubling to me - I'll have to check it out - it sounds like another Sex Pistols reunion tour, where the band stand fat on the stage, belting out the old tunes and flogging the same dead horse. Contintuity is in many ways a destroyer of creativity. Again, I'll have to take a look for myself.
1. Play 'God Save the Queen' to three random strangers off the street. Are they shocked? No? -- Dated.
2. Show three random people from the street the Jamie Reid's positively blasphemous(!) artwork for the 'God Save the Queen' single. Do people gawp in horror at the safety pin? No? -- Equally dated.
They're both as dated as one another when it comes down to it, but I think that both still have an equal power to remind us of what can be, and to inspire a few thoughts while we're at it. Reid looks good on the wall, the Pistols sound good on the stereo: neither can really be improved upon. They are what they are: works of art.
comment by morpheusmouse Sep 12, 2004Musical styles change and can of course can leave bands sounding vintage. Personally I believe that the pistols suffer less from this than other bands - there sound was so stripped down and powerfull that it ages very well - theres no instantly recognisable sound effects like those of 80's music for example. More to the point, the pistols were dealing with ideas and ideals that are relevent to the youth of any generation. Their songs are full of passion, fury,arrogance, and still make me feel like jumping about. (im not THAT old) Who cares that they were dodgy musicains? Passion never goes out of style.
comment by Rhys Tranter Sep 13, 2004I wish I could have gotten my post to the point in the same way that you did. That's exactly what I mean. Agreed
comment by Christian Bodart Sep 13, 2004<quickchuckle>
"a punk ethic that is - to some (the late Kurt Cobain springs to mind) - still very much alive"
I like the idea that the punk ethic is very much alive to a dead man!
Back to Punk:
Agreed (in the main):
I meant improve as in improved musically and in terms of reaching more people both of which do defy the point. But I would contend (though not defend the point) that Nirvana certainly did such a thing for me - but that may be an age/cultural thing (the first time around as a very young child I found the Sex Pistols as funny, stupid and crap as Vivien in the Young Ones was to become to my teenage self) whereas when Niran cmae out I had expereinced that dissatisfaction (though was trying to outgrow it) and thus enjoyed the sentiments a whiole heap more (but still with the wry smile of someone past the principle melodrama of that disatisfaction).
Thus/however 'improving' was the wrong word outside of my personal experience.
I think Reids art WAS a mirror to the pistols, but it was a simple visual one with a clear message that one could get at a glance. The 'discord' of the Pistols was both a part of that message and a barrier to it. In as much as you can switch of the 'noise' of the pistols before you get the point whereas Reid's art delivers its message very clearly even upon a glance. Sure you can say 'that's not music' and 'that's not art' and turn off but in Reid's case the defacement/attitude has communicated itself whereas I suspect that the Pistols (intentionally) alienated people (i.e. the establishment) before they got the point. Won't go on I hope you can get what I mean from that.
Re: Reid as an active artist, I didn't mean to imply that it prevented his stuff from being dated, I meant it made his work part of a living narrative rather than (like the Pistols) that we use to 'date' music if you get my meaning. I was also mearly saying that Reid has tended to be ripped off (which like a Pistols cover band points back to the origin) whilst the Pistols have both been imitated and have influenced so many sounds that it (in my opinion) 'dates' their sound by allowing categorisation and differentiation - you know like Punk in the 70s, Punk in the 80s etc etc.
Anyway I agree!
comment by Rhys Tranter Sep 13, 2004"<quickchuckle>
"a punk ethic that is - to some (the late Kurt Cobain springs to mind) - still very much alive"
I like the idea that the punk ethic is very much alive to a dead man!"
That occurred to me when I was writing it! But it was the most immediate and well-known person that stuck in my mind at the time
"I think Reids art WAS a mirror to the pistols, but it was a simple visual one with a clear message that one could get at a glance. The 'discord' of the Pistols was both a part of that message and a barrier to it. In as much as you can switch of the 'noise' of the pistols before you get the point whereas Reid's art delivers its message very clearly even upon a glance."
I agree with pretty much everything you've said, but I think that in this case it is not the immediacy of Reid as an artist but the immediacy of visual art as a medium that we're discussing. To have the full impact of a piece of music, one needs to listen from beginning to end: that is - in a sense - its limit as a form of communication. Visual art on the other hand communicates on a far more rapid and even intuitive level. It communicates on a level that the 'reader' can instantly recognise and understand: music does not do this in the same way. The medium is the message.
"Sure you can say 'that's not music' and 'that's not art' and turn off but in Reid's case the defacement/attitude has communicated itself whereas I suspect that the Pistols (intentionally) alienated people (i.e. the establishment) before they got the point."
I personally think that Reid is a man of huge talents, and I like what he does very much. However, I would say that both the Sex Pistols and Reid were both creating music/visual art for a specific reason: it was not simply art for art's sake, but art that had been contrived to shock and offend. Art that would challenge a reader's pre-conceived notions of the culture that surrounded them at the time. And I think the question of 'dated' work comes in when we ask whether the aim of the work still succeeds today as it did then. And I don't think it does. It does not stand up as shocking or challenging in the same way that it did in the 70s. Although I think that as art, to some degree, it is timeless. Classic, even.
"... whilst the Pistols have both been imitated and have influenced so many sounds that it (in my opinion) 'dates' their sound by allowing categorisation and differentiation - you know like Punk in the 70s, Punk in the 80s etc etc."
I agree with that entirely. But I was under the impression that when you mark a band as 'dated' you were implying that they had no real bearing within a modern cultural context, whereas I think that to some level they still do. I agree with the categorisation comment though.
BBC3 tonight: 'Blood on the Turntable: Sex Pistols'. Sounds deliciously tabloid. (I'm watching the early morning broadcast).
comment by brewsix Sep 16, 2004great bbc3 prog!, what fun the sarcastic remarks passed between jonny and malcom, what a hoot!, rock and roll swindle extrodinaire!, bliss, good tv for a change!, cheers brew6.
comment by Rhys Tranter Sep 16, 2004Great stuff!
comment by jazzyhair Dec 11, 2004yeah well nobody expected them to last and at the time there was nothing else except the end of glam and Bowie. I remember buying their first single and getting slagged by my flatmates for it being out of tune...They still sound fab and so is Jamies art work..and he doesnt seem to have sold out like Damien Hirst and the like
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