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Bang Bangs - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Bang Bangs
I'm writing about Joe Strummer this week, which means reading about his career before, during, and after The Clash. Somehow, I'd overlooked the excellence of Lester Bangs's 1977 pieces on the band. Here's my favorite paragraph, recounting a particularly inspired concert:
It was one of those performances for which all the serviceable critical terms like "electrifying" are so pathetically inadequate, and after it was over I realized the futility of hitting Strummer for that interview I kept putting off on the "politics" of the situation. The politics of rock 'n' roll, in England or America or anywhere else, is that a whole lot of kids want to be fried out of their skins by the most scalding propulsion they can find, for a night they can pretend is the rest of their lives, and whether the next day they go back to work in shops or boredom on the dole or American TV doldrums in Mom 'n' Daddy's living room nothing can cancel the reality of that night in the revivifying flames when for once if only then in your life you were blasted outside of yourself and the monotony which defines most life anywhere at any time, when you supped on lightning and nothing else in the realms of the living or dead mattered at all.
That's the problem with coupling pop music and politics: the moment triumphs over duration. But I feel it, man, I feel it.

Mode: rotating
Muse: Track #8 - Erwin Schulhoff - Hot Music (1928) etc.

2 comments or Leave a comment
kdotdammit From: kdotdammit Date: May 27th, 2004 10:53 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Dang. That's most excellent.
From: sittinginaroom Date: May 28th, 2004 03:18 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Cutting my BANGS

Reading (and rereading and rerereading) Bangs sends me out of my skull -- confronting his writing as someone who wishes to improve and distinguish their own writing on music, I am frustrated. When I'm writing anything about a band, whether it's a CD review, an article, a blog entry, or an e-mail to a friend, I always find myself trying to write against that "Bangsian" style -- I try to go more Poundian -- stick to the subject with as much clarity as humanly possible -- nobody gives a fuck about who I am or how I'm related to a band or the effect a band has had on me, write about the music -- however discussing MUSIC and MUSIC only is (I think) one of the most difficult things to do in writing -- you have to spend so much time building metaphors, metaphors that are always insufficient. I feel like the points I make are more about the metaphors, more about the writing, than about the music the writing is supposed to describe. It's a problem of representation. On the other hand, Bangs' writing was fully aware of the problem of writing about music. Bangs had no problem with writing about himself and so closely associates his identity with the continuously formative processes of "experiencing" music that, for him, there is no line to cross between "personal" writing and writing about music -- thus is the conundrum (for me): either feel like I'm aping the style of the most-aped music writer ever, or end up writing in a style essentially ignorant of its own status as writing -- obviously writing more about music will help.
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