So I was backstage at Mayfest. That Sandi Thom girl was there*. The one who sang that "I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair" song. Firstly let me make one thing clear, I like that song in so much as it's expressing a feeling which I have sympathy for. It's got a good tune to it as well. Lyrically however it doesn't reallly work.
Only last night I was having a conversation with a caller (off air) about how the lyrics are -at best- confused. In fact I wrote his name down so I could mention him if I ended up discussing this on air. Erm... Paul in Doncaster? Not sure. Lost the bit of paper. Rubbish.
The lyrics start with the bold statement: "Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair". Okay. We all know punk rockers didn't have flowers in their hair. They generally broke the noses of people who had flowers in their hair. It's a mixed image which instantly annoys me but I can't be sure she hasn't done it on purpose because she follows it up with "in '77 and '69 revolution was in the air" which shows she knows there were two different eras from which she's using her images.
Then she annoys me again with: "I was born too late into a world that doesn't care". This is the bit of the song which really ticks me off! It's pernicious nostalgic nonsense. It implies that she is somehow not responsible for this "world that doesn't care". Which of course she is. We all are. This is the problem with nostalgia. It gives people an excuse to ignore the present. The rest of the song is like a Peter Kay stand-up set. "Do you remember old things? Weren't they great?"
I'd prefer it if she was more honest. "I wasn't born in the olden days but they sound pretty good... here's a list of how I think it was in the olden days..." would be a better line. It'd preserve the lyrical integrity of the tune.
As a kid I used to watch TV programmes about how great things were in the 60's. Then as I got older people started making programmes about how ace everthing in the 70's was. It was only by the time I saw a few about the 80's (which I sort of remember) that I realised what most of the contributors to these programmes were actually saying. Roughly translated each of them was expressing this thought: "Yeah back when I was in my 20's things were better than they are now. Everyone was younger and cooler. It was great. Now I'm old and things are not quite as good."
As a consequence of these sorts of programmes a large chunk of my generation thinks the 60's were ace. They weren't. The Vietnam war was going on for a start. That was pretty nasty. Go on wikipedia. Look it all up. The world has always been a mixture of great and horrible. That's unlikely to change.
Anyway. With all these thoughts in my mind I decided I was going to corner this little popstar and tell her what's what. Ask her if she knows punks didn't have flowers in their hair and so forth. There she was chatting to a few people. I'll go over.
No, she's coming this way. I look down at the floor and then think 'fu#k it say something'. I look up and say: "hey, erm, you were good". She looks at me and says "um.. thanks" and then carries on walking off to her car. Great. I'm ace.
Oh no, I'm not.
*As well as a lot of other popstars, none of whom really excited me in the same way as Sandi Thom. I wasn't excited about her in a sexual way. Just in an intellectual one. She looked very pale faced actually. Probably a bit of a thinker.