Reminiscing through rose-tinted glasses

Posted on: 6th December, 2014

Category: Music

Contributor: Mark Holland

BBC4 seem to be doing a series on Friday nights of retrospectives or rather perspectives on vintage or legacy acts. I know it must be hard to squeeze the whole story of a band into a one hour show. To be fair to them they stay focused on the music; the chronological order of the albums, as the bands released them, and it is laudable to let the music speak for itself. But for some reason I find the repackaging a little bit unsettling. Drag it out, dust it down and show it off in a new light, and in twenty years’ time this becomes the truth, the only, sanitised, perspective.

Like, everyone knows that Elvis was lovely, James Brown was gas and Johnny Cash was like everyone’s favourite granddad. Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin were really good bands, David Bowie so deep and meaningful, The Boomtown Rats were socially responsible, and look at Ozzy Osbourne, so daft and harmless you just want to mind him. But in the context of the time it wasn’t like that at all, anything but. All of these guys were pariahs to the establishment. They were vilified, harassed by the authorities and their lives were made as difficult as they could be within the laws, but laws that they were held accountable to at every twist and turn. And these guys had teeth with which to bite back, and not just for their own survival, but because this was what drove them, spurred them on, what they were about.

I remember a former, fairly straight-laced Taoiseach claiming The Rolling Stones as his favourite band and thinking that must be their stock in this country cut in half in one swoop; Bertie seemingly was a big fan of the The The, and somehow I can picture Enda shaking his head and singing along to ‘Born in the USA’.

Where did it all go ‘right’? Currently an artist is considered outrageous if they haven’t had cosmetic surgery, and seriously, who cares what they eat? The unfortunate answer to that question is a reflection on us not them. Yes, there are fewer bubbles to burst today, in no small part due to those who have gone before, and the Utopic politics of the idealists can be simply boring in its facileness, but did it all die with Kurt? Was he the last one to really freak our parents out? I think it is important to remember and recall the unsavoury bits that the Beeb leave out — they are an essential part of the story.

I remember older cousins being told that if they went to see Bob Geldof in the City Hall that they would not be welcome home. Kate Bush was the antithesis of a role model. David Bowie was considered with fear, a destabilising influence on ‘good’ people. Led Zeppelin were believed to have gone to Brazil to make a pact with the Devil! Who was pretty much one and the same as Ozzy Osbourne, really. The Beatles got bashed up, banged up and bundled out of a few countries, and told not to come back. As for Elvis, The Pelvis, with his swivelling hips, where would it all end?…

Latest News Articles:

Global Shares to create 80 new jobs
Ford 100 Fest on Ford family farm to mark 100 years of Ford in Ireland
A Taste of West Cork Food Festival launches delectable programme
Healing with a harp
Plan the perfect wedding day at the Fota Island Resort Wedding Forum
Clutching at straws for Coalition
Lee’s and Nils: West Cork clubs in the city
The walk of a lifetime
West Cork farmers take gold at National Farmer of the Year Awards
Shining success for Union Hall Centra store at 2017 Quality Awards

Join us on Facebook

Dunmanway Historical Association regrets to announce that the talk on Sile na Gig which was to take place on Thursday, 24th August in Atkins hall @ 8:30pm has been cancelled. ... See MoreSee Less

18th August, 2017  ·  

This year Wild Atlantic Tag sponsored by Marine Harvest will take place in Adrigole on Saturday August 5th. All are welcome, whether you are a team entry or an individual looking to join a team. The teams will be divided into two sections, Social & Seriously Social! Please contact Sean (0879568363) or Joey (0879865827) to register. It promises to be great craic with plenty of refreshments available pre and post-match! Fantastic local musician Eoghan McEllhenny will entertain the rugby masses from 4.30pm followed by Peadar O’Callaghan and renowned Natural Gas will round off the night from 9.30pm! ... See MoreSee Less

14th July, 2017  ·  

A woodland walk will take place on the 22nd June at 7pm in Glengarriff Nature Reserve. This is a great opportunity to learn about woodlands, their plants and wildlife and is an opportunity not to be missed. Glengarriff Nature Reserve was designated as a Nature reserve in 1991, and covers over 300 acres in size. It is a beautiful and unique woodlands containing many different habitats and is owned and managed by NPWS primarily for conservation and amenity purposes. The event is led by National Parks Ranger Clare Heardman and has been organised by Cork Nature Network For further information please contact events@corknaturenetwork.ie ... See MoreSee Less

19th June, 2017  ·  

Jump to:

Top