Thursday, June 14, 2007

Me doing one of those 'classic album' articles.
Slightly syncophantic, I admit. But the point is, blimey that makes me feel pretty old. When that album came out many guys who are now in bands would have been about two years old. Me? I was around ten years old. Then again, Sonic Youth must be seriously pushing fifty now, so they at least make me feel young. I suppose it's the kind of thing punk rock set out to destroy, but nonetheless I'll be going to the Roundhouse to see them do the album track-by-track. Yes, I know this All Tomorrow's Parties Don't Look Back thing is pure nostalgia - Whitehouse member William Bennett certainly thinks so on this blog comment - but fuck it, I'm gonna go anyway. Maybe Whitehouse will play at Don't Look Back too? Would be interesting to hear charming classics such as "I'm Coming Up Your Ass" and "Just Like a Cunt" at Koko...but seriously, it's amazing to think that they've been going almost as long as SY, which would make them one of the first originators of the 'noise' genre along with The New Blockaders, Merzbow, etc. Incredible as it seems given the inherent uncommercial nature of the genre, noise music has now been going as long as goth (which I reckon started around '82 or so - any objections?). Of course, some smartarse could point out that something like 'Metal Machine Music' preceded noise bands by a couple of years, and before that you can cite modern experimental composers, but Lou Reed obviously wasn't a noise artist as such. Noise music must be one of the few genres where you geniunely don't need to play your instrument (even less so than punk), something that was brought home to me at a Wolf Eyes gig recently where the support act Putrifier ran around the venue with a strange guitar/drill hybrid attached to his chest. To bring this argument full circular,
SY themselves have dabbed in the genre of course - Sonic Death being a sort of neo-noise record of sorts.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

K-Punk again on The Apprentice.
I'd go further than this and say that while the program is an interesting for what it reveals about the class system in this country - as K-Punk pointed out - it's also a sort of repository for our catharsis when it comes to office politics: most of us will have met characters similar to this in work, and enjoy watching all of them (except for one, obviously) get their comeuppance. I guess Katie is the long in a line.
The whole program is founded on lies, of course: we must have all heard by now that Alan Sugar doesn't actually own that place, with it's pneumatic secretary, where he fires his wanna-be protégé one by one. The implication when you watch the program - even if it's not actually stated - is undoubtedly that this office is one of many of his 'acquisitions'. Furthermore, "Sir" Alan Sugar's (and what a fuckwittedly lame prefix that is) actual equivalent to Trump Towers - which, funnily enough, Donald Trump doesn't entirely own either - is in Brentwood and looks like this, which is less New York, more Skegness in spirit. As this comment on The Guardian's blog acknowledges, winning that program is double-edged sword - the money may be good, but the actual environment in which you'll be "Sir" Alan Sugar's right-hand man (or woman) is hardly glamorous - and what does Amstrad actually do these days anyway? Sugar's hardly the boss of Tesco. He's simply known as a caricature of himself whose made a few bob from property. Not that he's exactly poor (and he's probably made more money than I ever will), but it's the whole notion that he's some Richard Branson-like genius entrepreneur that's embarrassing. But then I suppose the whole program is essentially charlatan-like anyway.
Perhaps Katie's resignation was a stroke of genius: no-one should really want to actually win the program and work at Amstrad. As that blog points out, what have previous winners of the program gone on to do? In that sense, far from being some kind of gritty reality TV show, The Apprentice is actually as airbrushed as any '15 minutes of fame'-type program, where the exposure granted by getting to the last three contestants is the real goal.