Wednesday, January 13, 2016

"If You Want To Put Yourself On The Map, Publish Your Own Map".

Pete Frame, you're a genius. the above quotation came form this evening's talk at the University of Glasgow, with Pete, Simon Frith and Dave Laing.
The talk was full of fascinating stories and observations; it was to celebrate the donation of Pete and Simon's archives to the University, and while the panel were talking, copies of Pete's magazine ZigZag, his Rock Family Trees, old letters from Dave to Simon, and an article that Simon wrote in Coventry about 2-Tone and The Specials, were passed round the audience.
So what did we find out?
Before Radio One started, the BBC totally disregarded rock'n'roll and you could only hear it on pirate stations like Radio Luxembourg, which Pete described as "legalised payola"; record labels bought half-hour slots to play their product in, thereby sponsoring the station. Never knew that.
Simon Frith declared a fascination with the ways the Mercury Music Panel (which he chairs) try to persuade each other to make choices, the way they describe what it is they like about their favourite music.
He is in favour of record companies because of their role in quality control; apparently the worst releases are by artists who have been signed and then dropped!
There was an anecdote about the three of them going to Graceland when Elvis (changed by autocorrect to Levi's, by the way) still live there and peeing over the wall.
Both men were asked of their stories about David Bowie and Simon observed that most of the obituaries were much more about how the journalists themselves felt, than Bowie. he talked about Coventry's Bowie Boys, who had their own fanzine and morphed into punks. And yes, I'd seen a whole pub full of David Bowies in Pontefract or Wakefield- girls and boys, with identical spiky red hair, braces and baggy trousers.
There were more stories and more insights. The final, and best, was Pete revealing that when Julie Burchill first went to work at NME, she was designated to type up articles written by Nick Kent and other men on the staff, who were submitting their articles and interviews written in longhand. Can you believe that?
Oh, the 1970s, I don't miss you one bit.


Wilky of St Albans said...

Ahh, Nick Kent. The man who started the whole thing of music journo's writing about themselves, and not the artists. He so wanted to be Keef. I did buy one of his recent books, but I can't really be arsed to read it.

Helen McCookerybook said...

I think it might be worth checking out Pete Frame's book on the 1950s and Jon Savage's on the 1960s.

a Disc Jockey said...

Why was it called 'Radio Luxembourg' It was nowhere Luxembourg!