In the latest NME, they have compiled a list of the top 50 coolest people. There seems to be pretty much no restriction on your profession or nationality, but certainly there are no faces in there that haven’t been shoved down our throats by the NME for the last year. No surprises there. We are in absolutely no doubt as to what opinions we should have. Good good.
I am a tad upset by the inclusion of Pete Doherty of Libertines fame as joint number one with Carl Barat, also of Libertines fame. I am sick to the back teeth of the Libertines. The music would be just about acceptable, but the fact that the NME quite clearly want to wriggle up their arses and hop about until they squirt is just plain dull. I take solace in the fact that they are just a passing fad, the One True Voice of “credible” rock.
Okay, no disrespect to the Libertines. Though I doubt that my vitriol will trouble them, they don’t deserve it. I manage to make it through most days without losing my head and throwing a little fit at some band or another, but goddamn it the NME made me do it. They just won’t. Shut. Up. Much like me.
Anyway, my point.
The NME say “Pete Doherty is here despite his drug addiction.” The emphasis has not been added by myself. Still, I sense that regardless of how heartfelt or sincere such a remark is, it’s going to have the same effect as the disclaimer on the KaZaA website that says “You may not use KaZaA to transfer copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder.”
“Kids” will read this article. They will see that Pete Doherty, who has been mentioned in 52 issues of the NME in the last year, every single time with some reference to his crack habit in the article, is the coolest guy. The coolest guy in rock? The coolest guy in England? No. The coolest guy. No further qualification.
Call me cynical…
You’re cynical, Pete.
…but the only reason that the Libertines are so beloved by the NME is because of the tensions within the band that came about as a direct result of Pete Doherty’s chemical abuse. And that’s why they are the coolest guys. Crack habit leads to people falling out, leads to thrilling news stories, leads to recognition. After all, the NME couldn’t talk about them nonstop for the whole year and then not put them at the top of every poll, could they?
No. Because then they’d be seen as being fickle, having forgotten the Libertines already.
Well, to be honest, I can’t wait for January, when all of the end-of-year polls are out of the way, and the Libertines can discreetly fade from view. Because there has been too much glamorisation of drugs this year, accompanied by some 2pt Flyspeck saying “By the way, we don’t think drugs are cool, contrary to everything we’ve written above.”
Yeah, but the NME does describe How to dismantle an atomic bomb as as U2 as U2 can possibly get. They’re obviously not wrong about everything.
Being very in touch with The Kids these days, I must confess that I hadn’t even heard a Libertines record until two weeks ago. I had, however, seen and heard lots about them. Lots. And lots. All about their love-hate relationship, his imprisonment, his drug habit and, oh gosh, aren’t they just so rebellious and cool? Et cetera, et cetera, et bleedin’ cetera.
Then, last week, whilst listening to Radio 2 (I know, I know, insert your comment here), some unlistenable racket came on air, sounding like it was being performed by a bunch of illiterate and unmusical sixth formers who should be spending more time on their essays. “Cool,” I thought, “Radio 2 are playing demo tapes by new bands. Wow.”
And then I heard who it was by. This is the future of modern music. Christ on a bike.
(This comment brought to you by “Oh, I like this. It’s got a good rhythm. Is this the popular beat combo you’re always going on about?”)
Having recently been told by an eight year old relative that some of my favourite music "sounds like dinosaurs wailing in the Big Bang", I think I can truly say that I’m "down with The Kids" too.
Bands come, bands go. It’s a very competitive market. So bands (and solo artists) have to find some way to keep themselves in the limelight – or, at least, their publicists do.
You would think that a socially-aware record label might act to cut "the oxygen of publicity" from artists that abuse drugs and set such a diabolical example to society and young people. But that never happens, does it?
(Returns to arm chair with crackpipe and slippers).
`cause you know, if you play New Kids on the Block albums backwards….they sound better. “Oh come on, Bill, they’re the New Kids, don’t pick on them, they’re so good and they’re so clean cut and they’re such a good image for the children.” Fuck that. When did mediocrity and banality become a good image for your children? I want my children to listen to people who FUCKING ROCKED. I don’t care if they died in puddles of their own vomit. I want someone who plays from his fucking heart. “Mommy, mommy, the man that Bill told me to listen to has a blood bubble on his nose!” Shut up and listen to him play! The New Kids! “Hi we’re the New Kids and we’re so good and clean-cut…[slurp slurp slurp]…We’re so clean cut!” Seig Heil! Heil! Heil! A good clean country… Heil! Heil! Heil! Fuck that! I want my rock stars dead! I want them to fucking play with one hand and put a gun in their other fucking hand and go “I hope you enjoyed the show!” BOOM! Yes! Yes! Play from your fucking heart! Play from your fucking heart!!!
Be that as it may, I have the mental image of a middle aged couple stood at the funeral of their 20 year old son who has just died of a cocaine overdose, because the media gave him the impression that it was cool.
I know that there are a million ways to die, and we can’t live forever, but this one strikes me as one of the most shallow and pointless. I don’t want rock stars to be rebellious and self-destructive for my benefit. I want them to make good music.
I quite agree Pete- and didn’t post Bill Hicks’ rant in defense of NME/heroin/self-destructive rock stars. I just thought it was fucking funny and appropriate to the moment.
I don’t think socially aware record labels are a good idea. Musicians and artists that push boundaries are frequently disturbed, self-destructive, socially different, on drugs. I wouldn’t have any Squarepusher album to come home to tonight if Aphex Twin’s label had decided to cut him off because he drives round his village in a great big fucking tank.
Executives don’t know bupkis about music and are not fit to censor for me. The last thing I want is one of them saying: “Well this rock band is sending out the wrong message, lets cut them off. For the kids!” You think they’re going to cut Britney off for promoting paedo-porn?
NME didn’t make heroin and drugs and rock `n roll lifestyles cool. They are cool (over a hundred mega-fonzies) because they are dangerous and destructive, and danger and destruction are just plain cool, and always with be.
Rather than censoring coolness so the next generation is in danger, we just need to educate them and hope they find their way. Every young person I’ve ever worked with who was on hard drugs took them as a response to trauma in their own lives, not some attempt to emulate a musician or increase their coolness.
Grieving parents may wish to blame the media for cooling up cocaine, but if all my angst-ridden, pain-filled music telling me that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way had been censored when I was growing up because the artist was on heroin, I think I’d be on a serious prozac habit by now.
Damn good comment, sir. You should have your own site.
I’m working on it, Pete! V. soon. But don’t think that will make me stop commenting on Uborka, you’ll need to initiate an outright ban before I do that. Bwahahaha.
Libertines suck eggs.
Well they did at T in the Park. Fucking awful. Here endeth the lesson. Ohh and NME? Really? Preachy bollocks the lot of it.
Ohh and yay on the one who calls himself Destructor getting a site… should be v.entertainingness.
I disagree with Destructor a bit. Making drugs look cool is not a good thing. And the NME is doing that. It doesn’t force anyone into doing drugs, but makes them slightly more acceptable and you add up a lot of slightly more acceptable you do get two middle ages parents standing over their sons grave.
What’s next, gay bashing lyrics that let people know it ok to beat up on ‘fags’ … oh hang on we already have that.
I concur with the Sevitz.
I recall an NME interview with Andy Partridge of Xtc which was conducted in his mum’s kitchen. Mrs Partridge stunned the interviewer by regularly offering him cups of tea and Penguin biscuits. The Xtc album that Partridge was promoting consequently got a terrible review.
Similarly, Stuart Maconie once reminisced (as he is so expertly qualified to do) about an interview he had to do with Level 42’s Mark King. Apparently Stuart’s ferry was late making the crossing to the Isle of Man (where Mark King lives) and Stuart arrived at the front gates of King mansions whereupon he was met by the clearly agitated funky slap bass maestro himself.
“I was really worried,” Mr King said, “I had baked you some croissants and I was worried they would be burned before you got here!”
Stuart felt awful when he slagged the latest Level 42 album off in his interview piece later on.
Contrast this with the opportunity an NME journo gets to go boozing, scoring drugs and hanging around with a “rock star” with “rock star” trappings, skimming along the peripheries of a lifestyle on the edge whist also being able to go back home to their cosy flat, massive freebie record collection and normality.
Of course the Libertines are labelled “cool” because they allow music writers to feel part of a sub-culture, part of “the gang”, taste a life they wouldn’t normally touch with a bargepole. The Libertines are also shambolically, amateurishly bad, but that doesn’t count – their lifestyle is what’s important, the music is secondary. In five years, no-one will remember them.
Oh, and Gwen Stefani at number 19? This list is a piss take, shurely?
Ohh and yay on the one who calls himself Destructor getting a site…
Don’t get your hopes up- it’s really just a flimsy excuse to come to the Christmas Bloggers Party 🙂
I thought Mark King lived on the Isle of Wight?
Mark King. Mark King. Now there’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. And a name that I had no desire to hear ever again, as a matter of fact.
Unfortunately, you’ve just ruined my whole stance on this issue, because I have a feeling that Mark King would have been infinitely preferable as pop star material if he had taken armfuls of drugs.
Haven’t the Libertines also played with Chas & Dave? I think they were trying to be post-ironic. They failed.
I bow to the learned Graybo’s intimate knowledge of the whereabouts of the members of Level 42.
I can’t believe how politely we are conducting this lukewarm debate.
Drugs are cool and your all geeks.
any 20 yr old that took drugs cause a magazine told himt o was destined for room temperature anyway.