Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Oi, vayzmere.

Having recently read England's Dreaming, Jon Savage's deep history of British punk, version 1.0, it was a little unsettling to read, via Cosloy's Can't Stop the Bleeding, that British PM Tony Blair was escorted to the stage today at a Labo(u)r party conference accompanied by the Sham 69 anthem "If the Kids Are United." Perhaps Blair was inspired by Sham singer Jimmy Pursey's recent kicking match with former foe John Lydon (as reported here, also with a link to the song itself), finding inspiration in this bit of school yard drama: punk not entirely dead. Maybe I'm just used to the plasticine political appreances of the US's current leader, but given UK punk's slipperly political lineage---which shifted from a Dada-inflected, massive NO, to Rock Against Racism, to Oi! and National Front and skinheads at various points---it would seem that Sham 69, progenitors to Oi as they were, is a pretty dicey choice. Is thirty years enough time to erase history?

It's also a bold choice simply on musical merits. Classic UK punk might be thirty years old, but "If the Kids" is still pretty potent. And about kids. Hard to imagine what the W. equivalent would be. Marching up to the podium to "Blitzkrieg Bop"? (Johnny would've liked that.) Among other things, this little episode is just another bit of evidence pointing to the chronic need of the enfranchised to make certain songs not mean certain things.


Anonymous Jugi said...

Jeez. I even wondered if Bubba knew what "Don't Stop" was all about. Gave you a shout out in today's entry, btw.

1:35 PM  

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