Having been reduced to near-bankruptcy/near-destitution these past few months, coming back from the brink but remaining burdened by unclearable debt, still potless and still jobless (for details of which see my other blog) – writing music reviews is the last thing I feel like doing. I couldn’t buy any new (or new old) music if I wanted to.
But I’ve got time to kill this Friday. And the way my life is, I guess it makes sense that I should have spent some time listening to … something resembling The Blues (say those words aloud in your best Martin Lickert voice).
But…Clapton? Am I out of my mind? I mean, you know me, the anarchist goth-punk who’s also the not-so-closeted prog-rock/jazz lover … even a walking fukcup like me shouldn’t be listening to, or saying a good word for, the King Of Lazy Pub-Rock For Alan Partridge/Nigel Farage Types.
Let’s get some harsh realities out of the way.
He’s not a nice person, and we all know that. He’s spent most of his life making bland music which could be specifically designed for use as a lifestyle accessory (closet?)-racist Tory voters. He would deny it – but that’s because he’s one of them, even if he can’t see it. You don’t need a degree in psychology to know there will be far less truth about his inner self in his ordinary interview/autobiography chit-chat, than in his notorious pro-Enoch Powell remark, or the fact that when he was on friendly terms with Jimi Hendrix he was still given to making remarks (when Hendrix was under discussion) about the inevitability of white men’s rivalry with “spades” due to the relative size of their penises.
I’m not objecting to the word “spade” because I’m aware that racism lies in philosophies and antisocial/inhumane actions that result, not in individual words (it shouldn’t be necessary to point that out!) But from the strain of racist anxiety revealed in that quote, and in his endorsement of Enoch Powell and later remarks on immigration control (now using the language of UKIP), to his history of “domestic violence”, to his frank enjoyment of immense wealth [which, lest we forget, can only be gleaned by thieving from and exploiting other people – e.g music consumers) and the lifestyle that goes with it (i.e the hobbies of the idle rich: racehorse breeding, fly-fishing), his on/off relationship with religion (superstitious fantasy as self-deception/protection against one’s responsibilities and one’s ethical failures), and the brain-dead blandness of much of his music: the model for every dreary pub band you ever heard down your local of a Wednesday evening sometime in the ’80s and ’90s…and these complemetary facets all add up to a coherent picture – of a type of person that simply can not be tolerated.
So why have I been listening to him lately?
Nostalgia – it’s nostalgia that makes fools of everyone: all the rules they make are broken….(ha ha, see what I did there). When I was very/quite young (1980s) he was ubiquitous and he seeped into my brain and record collection…