Saturday, September 16, 2006
Having worked in radio at a time in France when it was still possible to find some decent listenable music and interesting stations, I now find that I have the tendency to listen to news based stations if I listen to the radio at all while in the car. A few weeks back I fell upon an old station called Europe 2 that had probably for demographic reasons changed their musical policy to something more friendly to my ears though hardly radical. Their playlist policy is very much in the vein of U2, Placebo, The Clash etc so hardly groundbreaking stuff but listenable in a foot tapping way. What with my boys being back at school at the reprise of sporting activity, I'm finding myself spending a lot more time in the car, and so it was the other day that while coming back home from basket ball training I heard the most ridiculous song, so much so that it made me laugh and almost caused me to crash the car! Maybe you know the song 'I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker' by Sandi Thom, always be careful of people that don't know how to spell and above all their own names unless of course it is Noddy Holder! The song itself is a very lightweight piece of folk chanting, though what I found to be offensive and insulting to the point that it is completely ridiculous is the lyrics. I was there and I never saw a punk rocker with flower in their hair, such people we called hippies! And then the smug smart couplets and the nostalgia for a period when she no doubt was not even born wishing for the days when footballers had long hair and dirt on their faces. I was confused and laughing at the stupidity. What is true is that she is no punk rocker, this being more of an attitude than a way of dressing, and if you were to have been born in the late 50's I rather doubt that you would have made the grade as the whole movement had its roots in real rebellion and a desire to change that gave us those fertile post punk years. A word of warning the song reminds me very much of Tracy Chapman and 'Revolution' and we all know what happened to her? Real female punk rock was abundant at the time and one of the best examples and a nice response to Sandi's song is the debut single from X Ray Spex 'Oh Bondage Up Yours'. Fronted by Poly Styrene and her power vocals and striking visual image conjugated with the raw honking sax provided by Laura Logic who later went on to form Essential Logic. They released one album in 'Germ Free Adolescents' that contained a good mixture of energetic straight ahead upfront in your face punk numbers and more moody atmospheric songs. One song from this album that has always stuck in my head is 'Warrior In Woolworths' built on a fuzzy guitar riff with shade of funk thrown in but above all it's the childlike word play in the title and ever present in the song that pleases me. A 56 track double CD compiling everything they ever recorded and including their Peel Sessions has just been released and is called 'Let's Submerge', I must say I'm just a little bit pissed off as I replaced my vinyl copy with an early CD re-issue containing only 16 tracks and I probably paid more then that I would today!