JUST AN OBSERVATION

Friday March 16th

 

According to a poll conducted by the NME, Liam Gallagher is the best frontman of a rock band ever. Really? I am not sure how such a conclusion was reached, even allowing for generational difference of opinion, as the heyday of Oasis was brief and era defining but it didn’t really change much, other than allowing overweight men to wear their shirts loose and over their trousers in a vague attempt to cover up the beer bellies attained by consuming the obligatory twelve pints essential to garnering any enjoyment or appreciation of an Oasis track. Perhaps this is a little harsh as their first two albums were pretty fine specimens of a rock and roll band at its rawest although, to these ears, they were always a little more reminiscent of early seventies rabble rousing foot-stompers Slade than the Beatles-to whom they were often confusingly compared and who managed to boast two frontmen, Lennon and Mc Cartney, although it was only ever Lennon who counted– and there is nothing wrong with that. But to claim Gallagher as the best frontman ever is overstating the case somewhat. What about Iggy Pop, Mick Jagger, John Lydon (nee Rotten) , Marc Bolan,Joe Strummer, Ian Curtis, Morrissey, Kurt Cobain? Elvis and Bowie don’t count as they were solo artists, unless you include the folly which was Tin Machine and no-one does. Each of these surely trounces the Oasis singer. Even my personal favourite, David Johansen of the New York Dolls, had more charisma and attitude teetering in his high heels than Gallagher could store in the many pockets of his parka. Also I have seen each of the aforementioned live, including Oasis, and can state quite honestly Gallagher does not come close.

Even their main rivals, at the time, Blur were able to progress and their frontman, Damon Albarn, despite being overly pompous and more than a little smug has embarked on a career of diversity and experimentalism resulting in two post millennium successes The Good the Bad and The Queen and Gorillaz. Oasis ,on the other hand, remained mired in plodding derivative works and inter-personal relations which prevented them from progressing  beyond their mid-nineties heyday. Their initial success was down to timing as much as anything- all the best rock and roll is- arriving on the scene when, post-grunge, rock was in the doldrums and dance music was becoming ever more faceless and moving into its handbag years. Rapidly the club scene was becoming more like the disco scene which had necessitated the underground culture which spawned club culture in the first place and so the time was ripe for young, vital rock music to rear its noisy, arrogant head. Enter Oasis.

At the time they were a breath of fresh air bringing a bit of yobbish vibrancy to a scene which was stagnant and over indulgent. Unfortunately most of the music, whilst holding a certain swagger, was devoid of longevity or any deep rooted meaning. There was nothing in their repertoire as zeitgeist defining as Pulp’s ‘Common People’ or as wry and observant –or even controversial- as the same bands ‘Sorted for E’s and Whizz’. What about Jarvis Cocker as a late addition to the greatest frontman list?  Certainly he had more to say than how much he hated his brother or how he wished Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon would die of AIDS. Actually the latter comment was made by older brother and songwriter Noel Gallagher but you get the gist that a return to boorish loutishness was on the agenda rather than any artistic endeavour, foresight or imagination. Unfortunately it was left to dance meisters Underworld to write the line that encapsulated the whole Oasis myth in ‘Born Slippy’ with ‘Lager, lager, lager’. See what I mean, they couldn’t even write their own legacy thus confirming that the title of greatest frontman surely belongs to someone-anyone- else.

Elsewhere this week I have been dismayed at the offerings and standard of what is being slopped out on our television screens. Many evenings I have not bothered to turn on my TV after looking at the schedules and finding absolutely nothing to remotely pique my interest. It almost makes me hanker after such trash as Laid In Chelsea-due for a return series too soon although I fear it is one series too many- and the Apprentice makes a return next week and which always serves as a reminder that no matter how bad you may feel about your own shortcomings you can always console yourself that you still possess some integrity and are not as shallow, egotistical, deluded or down right obnoxiously arrogant as the contestants all vying for the position of professional curmudgeon Alan Sugar’s latest profit increasing lapdog.

This is a man who is considered so influential that his programme could not be broadcast in the lead up to the last General Election due to his involvement as an advisor to Gordon Brown. Not that his opinion would have made much impact anyway as we still ended up with a government which had little to do with how the public voted. The Apprentice is an interesting concept, however, as you always end up rooting for the one you hate the least rather than any well being towards the winner. It is a bit like Peter Andre believing that the British public love him when in fact it is just we hate him less than Katie Price. Personally I always considered him a waste of sperm and egg and thought they were well suited. Not spoiling another couple as the saying goes.

Perhaps television would not be such a major consideration if there was any decent nightlife in Edinburgh. As mentioned in these pages before the club scene has been seriously depleted and the cinemas are still raking in post-Oscar monies by showing the same films they were a month ago. The Edinburgh Film Festival is on the way however and after last years non-event a return to big names and premieres seems to be the way forward.

My favourite moment of the 2010 festival was sitting next to Britt Ekland in her granny glasses- which she only swapped into from designer shades after the lights had dimmed- and Patrick Stewart whilst watching what could only be termed art-house porn at 10.30 in the morning. By the end of the film we were both more familiar with the genitalia of the principal two stars than we ever could be with our own. She never responded in the slightest although that was probably as much to do with the botox as to any lack of reaction. Mind you she probably has more risqué moments captured on her home video collection anyway-this is the woman who along with a bottle of amyl nitrate and bedroom prowess induced a heart attack on Peter Sellers- so it probably didn’t register as anything too outré in her eyes. The best moment however was when as the closing credits rolled she rummaged in her bag before whipping out a lipgloss which was hastily applied in the dark and still managed to have her shades  back on before the credits finished ,maintaining her Hollywood dignity even in the Cineworld complex  of Fountainbridge. We could all learn a lot from her. Class!

Here is a slinky slice of delicious electro pop-Oblivion from Grimes- which  makes me want to go out dancing although there is nowhere to hear delights such as this in Edinburgh. The bedroom- again- it is then.

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