Sunday, October 16, 2005

simon schama: down with the kids

When I was a teenager and used to read Melody Maker religiously, I used to pretend that I has been asked to take part in 'Rebellious Jukebox', a weekly feature where a hip indie rock star of the day was asked to name and explain the twelve records that changed his or her life. This was before Oasis and it wasn't fashionable to listen to the Beatles and all that sixties rubbish, so there was rarely a record chosen which pre-dated 1970, and everyone seemed to pick the same records anyway (Big Star, MC5, Sonic Youth). I suppose the reason I wanted to be on it was because I felt, stupidly, that my taste in music and predisposition to journalistic cliche was incredibly ahead of my time and that, given the opportunity, I could pretty much nail that top twelve. Well, they never asked.

Ten to twelve years on, I no longer dream about this, as I no longer have the confidence that I would sound on-the-ball and hip. I'm pretty proud of discovering a couple of records my friends don't yet own, like that record by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, which I actually know next to nothing about, but I think I'm probably behind the times elsewhere.

So instead I dream of being asked to take part in the Observer Music Monthly's 'Record Doctor' feature, which is really fantastic. Typically, a music fan whose finger has slipped anxiously off the pulse is asked to describe his or her tastes and then 'prescribed' a selection of contemporary or classic records to restore their faith in music and slide that finger back on the button. I like this for two reasons: firstly it tells me about stuff I don't know about so is useful, and secondly, it reassures me that I'm not quite as out-of-touch as the usual participant. Fine.

Today's guest was Simon Schama, and I am humbled. Not only does he namedrop Lydia Lunch within seconds of giving his feedback, the article casually reveals that "The patient is known to be fond of young New York rockers Clap Your Hands Say Yeah". What!?!? How long has he known about them? Damn it.

OK, so where I imagined myself as riding the crest of that particular wave, it appears that the Nation's favourite middle-aged television historian is every bit as cool in me.

In fact, if you read the article, you'll see that he's far cooler...


Blogger Ben said...

I like the idea behind this feature - I could use some of that medicine...

Anyway, who would have thought Schama was into The Sex Pistols, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and R L Burnside? Oh, hang on, he likes The Arctic Monkeys too - there's a black mark...

1:58 am  

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