the end of pop

Are we living through the end of the era of pop? The death of the generation that invented the teenager and the heat and music and colour that went with it? Bowie is dead, most of the Beatles are gone, The Stones, The Who, Floyd et al are a shambling arthritic beasts, propped up by the machinery built around them to milk them for all they are worth.

Men that could never afford to buy a Les Paul in their youth, have driven the instrument that once was the very image of youthful rebellion to prices that mean it is only really affordable to cosmetic dentists, sales directors and oil executives. Men who ultimately hang them on walls and never let them reach their full potential as an instrument of change. Perhaps that role is now covered by the laptop.

If you were 35 in 1968, what was the music from your childhood? Could you name the top 40 artists from 1968? I would say that you would know who you were listening to at 15 and who you are listening to now, well then, in 1968. I am 35 years old, 50 years later, I can remember who I was listening to at 15 and I know who (mostly) is in the top 40 now. I could not name who, the me from 1968 would have been listening to when they were 15. Are the 15 year olds of today, going to feel the same about Bowie and The Beatles?

I am endlessly shocked when I go and listen to records like Pablo Honey, Common People, Modern Life is Rubbish and realise that they are 25ish years old. Go back 25 years from then and you get 1970, end of The Beatles, last shows of Led Zep etc. Go back 25 years from then and you get 1945, monochrome post war rationed coldness. I feel the distance between the here and now and Blur seems much closer than the distance between Blur and Led Zeppelin, not to mention the distance between Led Zep and the end of WW2.

Or perhaps I am just getting old.

primary urges

Thomas and Charles had eaten breakfast together and were about to do the same thing at lunch, when Alexa appeared in the conservatory of the great house to join them.

“Good morning gentlemen.” She said as she leaned over to kiss Charles.

Charles made an extravagant scene of looking at his pocket watch.

“Good lord, if this is morning, then I’m hesitant to ask what you got up to with my little sister last night.” Charles replied.

“Oh be quiet Charles, it wasn’t anything sordid, we simply went for a ride around the estate. It was my idea, I needed a little air after dinner, Kath was doing me a favour by accompanying me.”

“I’d accompany you.” Thomas said somewhat quicker than he should have done from the other side of the table.

“I’m sure you would Thomas, but I’m not sure what people would think seeing you and I riding around the estate after dark.” Alexa replied.

Charles was looking at his brother, rather incredulously, across his teacup, wondering what on earth had gotten into him. Quite extraordinary.

They had finished lunch before Kath appeared in the doorway.

“Oh gosh, I’ve missed lunch, I must have slept right through!”

free ride

Charlie came to in the back of the containment van. He was manacled by the ankles and wrists and was laying on his side, on the floor. Everything hurt.

“Fuck, I said not to shoot, I wasn’t resisting!”

The van stayed silent. He tried to roll over and stretch his legs, but he was also seemingly fixed to the floor of the van and couldn’t move more than about half an inch from his current foetalesque position.

He counted 8 boots on the side of the van he could see and assumed there would be an equal number on the side he couldn’t.

“Didn’t know people thought I was so dangerous.” He said out loud.

“Say anything else and I’ll stun you again.” A disembodied voice said from behind him.

“Oh really, well why don’t you just go…”

Charlie never got to finish the sentence. Ten thousand volts shot up his back from where the electrodes were still embedded in his spine and he lost consciousness. He also simultaneously evacuated his bowels and emptied his bladder, which would’ve been embarrassing if he’d been conscious, but really just made the journey for the eight guards absolutely intolerable due to the smell.

morning has broken

Daniel had been awoken by a sharp kick from one of the pool of admin girls that looked after his paperwork.

“Wakey wakey sleeping beauty, time to rise and shine and fight another day.”

“I only just finished fighting yesterday, that’s the problem I have with now fighting today.” Daniel said, slowly unfolding himself from under his desk, before collapsing on to his chair. The chair back promptly collapsed under the assault and he found himself back on the floor with his only legs left on the now destroyed chair.

“I’ll ring stores and get you another chair.” The girl said as she walked away laughing.

Daniel gingerly sat back down on the base of the chair and opened up his log book to make a note of yesterday’s activities. He omitted his evening movements, replacing them with a nondescript report of spending the evening at home studying Russian. It was something he was meant to be doing, so was a good enough excuse and would hold water if pressed.

“Coffee?”

Daniel looked up from his logbook and was greeted by another one of the admin girls. He took out a cigarette.

“God, yes please, very black with 3 sugars.”

little surprise

The response Charles had received from his younger brother, was, to be honest, the response he assumed he would get from his younger brother. Unlike Charles, Alex and even Kath, Thomas had been too young to really be involved in the first war and had spent most of his life after university loafing around the family house in the country, reading and writing poetry. Charles didn’t necessarily have any issues with his younger brother living such an artistic life, but it did leave Thomas with quite a romantic and indeed rose tinted view of the world, very different to that which Charles and his elder relatives had.

It therefore came as a surprise to Charles, when, retiring in his drawing room with a brandy later that evening he was visited by Thomas, who proceeded to lay forth a plan for the family to snare the man, Charles believed had murdered both of his wives and finally get to the bottom of the whole horrendous ordeal.

The plan was strikingly cunning and Charles was left with a new found sense of interest in his younger brother and the creative method in which he had plotted to capture their Teutonic arch nemesis.

geh zum teufel

The punch had hit Charles, quite literally like a fist to the face. He hadn’t seen it coming, as it had been delivered by a man stood beside him, whom he had not been paying much attention to. It almost made Charles swear out loud in English, which was of course the point of the sucker punch, but he managed to change his outward expression to German just in time.

“Du Fickfehler, geh zum teufel!”

The man opposite smiled a thin smile, then spoke in a very accented English to Charles.

“Very good, you have managed to maintain your cover, such a shame zat your pilot friend did not. We know everything zat happened Charles. Zat is your name, is it not, Charles?”

Charles sat still and steady, saying nothing. The punch had cut his lip and the front of his mouth was slowly filling with blood. The silent standoff lasted for a full ten minutes, until the man stood and came face to face with Charles in his chair. As he came within range, Charles spat the full mouthful of blood that he had been building up, into the face of his captor.

“Fick dich und deine Mutter, Schwein!”

modern awakening

Kath and Alexa had ridden back to the house, Kath reverting to her usual riding style, had gone up to bed once the horses had been stripped, with Alexa choosing her own room, so as to not wake Charles.

After saying goodnight, Kath had gone to her room, but was so full of energy after her invigorating night ride with Alexa, that she simply could not get comfortable to sleep. Her room, like all the rooms, was freezing cold at night, so she huddled a blanket around her, sat at her desk and busied herself writing an entry into her journal.

It was a deeply private item, hidden away under a loose floorboard she had discovered as a child, which now housed her dearest possessions. She wrote fluidly and fast, trying to capture the emotion and energy she was feeling. The sense of freedom she had experienced had been exhilarating, she had felt as if she could do anything when she was with Alexa and had begun to see why Charles was so smitten with this creature from the new world.

Eventually she wearied and climbed into bed fully dressed before quickly succumbing to sleep, where she stayed until morning.