Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Grrrrrr

And lo...another year has copped it. Normally I come up with some random vaguely musical star gazing for the year ahead. Checking back at my last lot I was fairly safe with my predictions...the saddest of which came true on December 24th with the end of the store formerly know as Virgin, Zavvi. With Zavvi going, HMV will be the last man standing on the High Street when it comes to a national music retailer. The recent end of Pinnacle (who distributed for loads of indie labels) and EUK (part of Woolies...who supplied WH Smiths and Zavvi...amongst others) signalled another nail in the physical selling of music coffin thingy. It's a real shame, not just for the thousands of people who've lost their jobs, but for all the future generations of music fans who won't know the delights of rifling through racks of records or CD's, chatting to the dude behind the counter who knows everything there is to know about Captain Beefheart, saving up for that special purchase, rushing home and playing it for the first time...(cue sepia tinged film featuring kids in clogs and jolly coal miners covered in dust returning home from t'pit and sticking the latest Steely Dan release on their wind up gramophone)...ahhhh...happy days. Now we can just click and nick everything we want for free. You wait and see where that gets us...endless bland product. Tired, cynical rehashes of classic songs purely designed to get people who don't usually buy or support music in any way, shape or form to part with their 79p (or however much it costs these days) on i-tunes. It's Pandora's Box I tells ye...

So, this is a kind of call to arms. Nick music by all means. Everyone does it. But make sure you buy the odd thing too and get out to see some gigs. I'll try to remember to point out some highlights but the Birmingham Gig Guide (see link to the side of this rubbish) does a damn fine job. Support your local record shop as well. There aren't many left...but here in Birmingham I can heartily recommend Swordfish on Temple Street and Tempest Records (just off Corporation Street...near the Square Peg).

If there's one thing that 2008 taught us it's to expect the unexpected. Any sane person could see some kind of economic fuck fest looming but very few expected it to be quite so severe. What's also pretty clear is that the shit is only just starting to hit the fan. So, just a couple of predictions for now then. The newly reformed Specials will rerelease Ghost Town (or maybe Peter Kay will cover it). It's the perfect summary of what's going to happen to most town centres. I also predict a rise in protest songs, punk and all things grrrrrr too. Anger, so sang butter botherer Mr Lydon, is an energy. Aside from Gallows (gawd bless 'em), Fucked Up and one or two others there's not been much grrrrrr in 'mainstream' music for a while. I think some kind of crunk/grime/punk/speed garage hybrid will rise up from the streets...people will start squats again in the millions of empty homes across the country...anarchic websites will spring up uniting the people and the whole country will start to resemble a scene from Bladerunner. Still, Happy New Year and all that!

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