Friday, November 20, 2009

i never go up to celebrities but i thought i'd "do a Woebot" so i went up and had a chat with Malcolm McLaren last night.

what a loon he is. this was after the talk he gave which was priceless

the whole event was some government trade and industry organised aperitif for South by South West, this huge alternative music festival in Austin, Texas this weekend. The Brits fly into New York for a bit and then on to Austin.

i entered the penthouse suite where it was taking place and it was like the entire population of Hoxton had been transplanted there -- wall to wall Brit meeja/music industry/managers promoters etc, all networking frantically

some Blair apparatnik for Trade and Industry prefaced Malcolm by talking about the government's concern to raise the percentage of UK sales in the US market, noting that Coldplay had had the biggest selling album in the world, how we needed to exploit "our native spirit of eccentricity and flair" or some such bullshit

and then Malcolm takes the mic

suffice to say it was not industry boosterism not one whit, ...

it started in 1946 with his grandma telling him "never talk to a policemen", how the post-war london was run by gangsters, spivs who operated the black market

about 45 minutes later and we'd only got to 1964 and his art teacher at st martin's telling him that the goal was to "fail--be a magnificent failure"

some really bizarre stuff i'd never heard before about his move into couture

he had a whole section on the irrelevance of music today, how video games and computers and such like had taken over with the kids, not exactly fresh, cutting-edge observations to be honest... and he also had some weird creepy stuff about teenage girls and moms going to the beauty salon to get brazilian waxes together!

anyway distinctly uneasy laughter in the audience throughout the proceedings and a really grim fixed half smile on the british consul's queasy pale face

yeah so afterwards i buttonholed Malcy and told him I used to love reading his interviews in the music press and got such a buzz of all the ideas buzzing around in them (cos the funny thing is, I give him a right roughing up in Rip It Up but it was him and John Rotten that were the two Pistols -- and McLaren was the fifth Pistol -- that I followed, avidly, afterwards -- well I certainly had no interest in the Professionals did I!)-- and then I picked up on something he'd said in the talk during the whole music-is-irrelevant-nowadays section, I said, "so you've never really rated music much AT ALL--music in itself,for its own sake -- have you? it's always just been a vehicle, secondary to the really interesting stuff? That's been a constant all the way through what you've done, right?". I think I had some other vaguely taking-issue type response, like about games all being made by big corporations so what was that really challenging. he looked at me warily, munching on some sushi --like who's this geezer -- and then launched into his whole "music doesn't matter, fashion and ideas do" riff, as honed in decades worth of interviews and lectures

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