Lily/Keith Allen, Morrissey at Finsbury Park and Luke Haines’ book…

If you haven’t been here before, this is a kind-of split-screen blog in which I talk about
a) the handful of (somesay) brilliant indie summer pop records me and my pals made as Pastel Collision and Kaleida in the 90s. This is kind of
i) a doomed attempt to get an American indie film-maker to use Wherever You Go Take Me With You (or stop-look-and-listen-1) over the opening or closing credits of a feelgood yet slightly dark indie rom com
ii) a doomed attempt to get someone to cover said songs – or even Here Comes The Summer.
b) (are you following?) pop issues and moans of my own choosing.

Today, it’s all about b.
1) Lily Allen and Keith Allen
I quite like Lily Allen. What with the hopeless Oxbridge quota (see Radio 4 comedy for full details), there’s not much room for spontaneously funny, bright and opinionated people in the media, so hats off to her, the more so since the single from her new album is like some kind of tribute to Dubstar.
I got her first album but am not that drawn to getting her second. That’s how it is sometimes.
BUT if I read another blog comment attributing her success to being the daughter of Keith Allen, I’ll smash my computer.
Let’s get this clear: being the daughter of Keith Allen is surely more of a HINDRANCE to her being a pop star than if she were, actually, mute.
I don’t know what Keith Allen does, really. He always seems grumpy and rather pleased with himself, while projecting some kind of sense of geezerish ‘edginess’ and associating with Hoxton/Groucho Club no marks
Nobody likes that sort of thing
And surely not one single member of Lily Allen’s audience would have been encouraged to buy her music because of her grumpy old dad, who they’ve probably never heard of anyway.
Or am I wrong?

2) Stuart Maconie and Morrissey in Finsbury Park
I like Stuart Maconie. He shouldn’t have done all those ‘I Love 2007’ Channel 4 clips shows; and he shouldn;t wear those flowery shirts because they make him look like his auntie. But I like him, his radio shows and his books.
However. For a fellow who claims to be a big Morrissey fan, he’s prone to some basic errors.
1) In his recent Radio Times column, he claimed Mozzer had never had a No 1, when everybody knows that he’s had at least two: Meat is murder and Vauxhall and I.
2) In his book, Cider with Roadies, Maconie recounts his near-guilt at his then-employers, the NME, trying to finish off his hero by daubing him as a racist. Maconie tells the tale of Morrissey’s doomed gig at Finsbury Park, supporting Madness in 1992 and gets it as wrong wrong wrong as everyone else has down the years.
I was there, near the front, so let me explain.
Morrissey was on the same bill as Ian Dury, Flowered Up, Gallon Drunk and, of course, Madness.
What kind of audience do you think those bands had?
Maconie’s account (and the usual old cobblers recorded in music press annals) is that Mozzer was bottled off by a liberal crowd who disapproved of him waving the Union Jack and singing a song about the National Front. In this version, the Finsbury Park crowd turn their back on our hero because he is ‘flirting’ with ‘racism’ etc etc.
Actually, Madness’ crowd – who knew? – had a very rough and tumble skinhead element who despised Morrissey for his perceived gayness. There he was in his gold lame shirt, prancing around playing his B-sides, when the first 50 rows of the crowd would have preferred someone more suitable to slot into the none-more-geezerish bill.
Chas and Dave, maybe.
There were chants and heckles that these days would be called homophobic and eventually he was bottled off.
I got a punch in the face too. There were loads of fights all over the place and no security. The summer of love it wasn’t.
Mozzer was NOT bottled off for being too right wing.
He was bottled off for not being right wing enough.
For being too gay.
Of course you could blame Mozzer himself for his still-ongoing attempts to ally and ingratiate himself with the Big-Lads-With-Tattoos-Who-Don’t-Like-Poetry faction. You might say he was asking for it, starting the set with a load of B-sides.
But I am sure if any of the other acts on that stage that Saturday had waved the flag, much of the crowd would have been only too happy to fall in line and prepare to invade France.

3) Luke Haines’ newish book
I’ve been reading it. It’s called ‘Bad Vibes: Britpop and my part in its downfall.’ You know Haines – Auteurs, Black Box Recorder, acclaimed a pop genius by about 15 in-the-know journalists, record sales disappointing.
Course I love Black Box Recorder and I do kind of like the idea of Haines and his sour misanthropy, dismissing all his peers as idiots.
Throughout, Haines’ self-image is that of a misunderstood genius, one step ahead of the record-buying public.
He doesn’t have a good word to say about anyone.
He is very very very pleased (three verys) with himself when he proposes naming a side project after 70s terrorists Baarder-Meinhof gang, rather in the way of a naughty boy showing his bottom in assembly.
And after a while, you begin to wonder whether, as Haines insists, he is the genius and everyone else is an idiot or b) whether it’s the other way round.
I’m afraid to say that you might be a great football coach but if your team never wins a game, you can’t blame people for under-rating you.
And if you’re in pop and you say you’re a genius and you only have a hit every five years… well, you get the picture.

4) Johnny Dangerously – another genius song
My putting a song of his up the other week has excited a lot of visitors from a Man Utd forum, begging (well, asking) for the whole album to go up. (New readers: ‘Dangerously’ was the fella from indiepop-stadium-folksters I Am Kloot; his album ‘ You Me and the Alarm Clock’ is six songs of brilliant, unrequited-love acoustic guitar wordplay on a drizzly day under the pier, like Roddy Frame if he’d come from Blackpool). Anyway, here’s another song – this-town-and-mary1. I will do the whole album at some point.

Next time: It suddenly feels a bit like summer in the UK, so, predictably, I’ll be back on my specialist subject: the Best Summer Pop Songs you’ve never heard.
That’ll be good, eh?







One response to “Lily/Keith Allen, Morrissey at Finsbury Park and Luke Haines’ book…”

  1. Kaleida Jim Avatar
    Kaleida Jim

    Punched in the face eh… Was that by a skinhead or a fellow Moz-fan taking advantage of the moment?

    And here’s one for you… “Summer Pop Radio” by Helen Love (the band, not Gordon’s mu).

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