25 Mar

Cute isn’t it?. That was Lou Reed’s best moment and he didn’t know it. Listen for Bowie’s soaring vocals at the end.

Later on there were reports of the guy lurking in the corners of Max’s Kansas City throwing back whiskey doubles and being a jerk par excellence. Read John Cale’s memoirs viz the Velvet Underground’s ’90s reunion tour. What a sublime arsehole the dude seems. I remember New York coming out in the ’80s and I was thirsty for a tune that meant something. One that was recorded now. And tho’s I tried to like it I knew Sick Boy was right: in my heart I knew. It’s shite.

The song that defined my era, as it seemed to me then, was recorded when I was ten. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was eight years away. What a desert is crossed twixt the ages sixteen to twenty-four? Did Nirvana define my generation? Well yeah – for fans of Nirvana. For the hip-hop crew it was “It’s Like That” by Run-DMC. For the first wave of raver bunnies it’s probably DJ King Piddly-O’s remix of that track that goes Doof- boing-boing, Doof-boing-boing, buzzzz. You know the one. For me it’s nothing. How can a song or a movie or anything else define a generation. To do that you need a whole compilation.

By the time I was in the workforce I’d noticed the mundane (that is, the largest) slice of my contemporaries were already fixing into the 80s. Hipsters like me might go to raves and Ice Cube concerts but the rest were turning conservative. They knew what they liked and what they liked came out when they were sixteen. The best years of their lives. What a curse: to live your life’s highest moment in high school.

Right now I’m listening to Philip Glass’s Metamorphosis II I discovered this via a Falstaff-like mentor I had back in the day. Introduced me to stuff like Concrete Poetry. Next I’ll be booting up Hank Williams, no. Maybe I’ll search for ‘Arabic Techno’ instead. I’ll tell you when I get there.

Youth, Oscar tells us, is wasted on the young. Aye ’tis true. We waste our youth because we don’t know who we are and when we find out we wish we’d done things differently. But how would we know unless those mistakes’d been made? There’s the rub. There’s always a rub. It’s at the heart of the truth.

I don’t miss my youth which was awkward, neurotic and ugly. And I haven’t wasted my youth, much, because I wasn’t busy doing what the Herd was doing. I hadn’t figured out much when I bought Nevermind but I knew something: these monkeys are dickheads man. Not all of them. Individually most of ’em have a brain I’ve found. But get ’em going in a large enough group and it’s like crazed cattle. Ain’t nuthin’ for it cowboy, ride into the sunset and forget ’em.

Still, as the poet wrote, I wished I possessed a spirit that was calm . Yet, if I hadn’t the wilderness inside would I’ve ever thrown myself into the maelstrom and emerged pristine (but somewhat slightly dazed?) A little bit ruined sure, but would I now be experiencing such fascination with new forms of music? Would I have found the new depths inside, the deeper love of music? Is that normal?

Can you be found if you were never lost?



  1. John H. March 25, 2011 at 8:00 am #

    I have two Lou Reed albums: Rock n Roll Animal and Coney Island Baby. The former is saved by outstanding guitar work in Sweet Jane and Rock n Roll, the latter is a completely different style with some nice lyrics.

    There is only one radio station I listen to here on the Gold Coast: JJJ. I’ve tried the other stations but they just keep playing 80’s crap. I still can’t “get” hip hop but what I like about JJJ is the variety and freshness of their music. Most peoples’ taste in music seems to be set the experience of their teenage years, few seem to venture beyond those seminal experiences. A terrible shame because there is so much beautiful music in the world. We are not only closing our minds we are closing our ears, though perhaps the latter came first.

    Youth isn’t wasted on the young but I suspect modern culture is wasting the young. Have a look at Jersey Shores sometime. When I first saw it I thought it was a parody but the friend who introduced me to it said no Jersey Shores is real life. If that is real life I’m glad I resigned from the human race.

  2. AC Stewart March 26, 2011 at 12:11 am #

    We are not only closing our minds we are closing our ears, though perhaps the latter came first.


    Youth isn’t wasted on the young but I suspect modern culture is wasting the young.

    Most of ’em yeah. They’re catastrophe. But I meet some and they know they’re being fed the Hungry Jacks/Maccas fandango and search for new things and new ways of mixing the old things. I have cautious hopes for the decade just begun.

    There is only one radio station I listen to here on the Gold Coast: JJJ

    Dude, welcome to the 21st century.

  3. AC Stewart March 26, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    Oh and I strongly suggest the Velvet Underground LPs if you like Lou Reed best to get him before he became a drunk. 🙂

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