Saturday, May 26, 2007

Jewel in the Crown

Is it really 30 years since 'God Save The Queen' by The Sex Pistols was released?

Well, yes, incredibly it is. Amazing. I bought it when it came out- it was the only way that you could get to hear it as it was banned pretty much everywhere.I bought it from the little record shop that used to be in Windsor Street in Uxbridge- I remember having to wait until my Mum and Dad were out before being brave enough to play it, and even then I hesitated... but it was beyond brilliant, the greatest rock'n'roll record ever, and 'Did You No Wrong' on the b-side was pretty good too, and I played it again and again, over and over, wondering if I would ever hear anything better than it, wondering if anything could ever be better than it, wondering what it must be like to be able to create a sound like that and if I would ever do anything even remotely as exciting as that in my measly little lifetime. I've just played it again. Twice. It's still the only recording I've ever had that was actually dangerous to own. That's not something that's ever likely to be said about a Coldplay track is it? And I wonder how many people have to hide their Keane singles from their parents? Not very many I'd say, even though one could argue that they should, if only out of embarrassment at actually owning such an ridiculous item. Put simply, you were with us or against us and there was no middle ground. Today that doesn't seem to happen, at least according to the younger people that I talk to in the shop anyway. The last time that there was any sort of 'line in the sand' was when Oasis emerged and, leaving aside any opinions on the band's music for a moment, there was at last a band that polarised people, that you either loved or hated, that went some way towards forcing people to make a decision about where they stood (the rather contrived media attempts at turning 'Oasis vs. Blur' into a class war might sound and look a bit daft now but I was teaching guitar at the time and a lot of young people really were in one camp or the other). But that was nearly 15 years ago; it seems to me that everybody's sitting on the fence in the middle of the road these days- one of the few good things about being old is that I had the chance to feel how I felt then.

Last night I had another chance to remember the feeling, as I played at The Crown in Hornchurch with The Pistols. We started with 'G.S.T.Q.'- and there I was, back in my room playing the record for the first time. What a great feeling- and what a great gig, because tonight Matthew I'm Steve Jones from The Sex Pistols and I play loud rock'n'roll guitar very loudly indeed and I'm playing it whether you like it or not on some of the greatest rock'n'roll songs ever on a low slung Les Paul wearing an old Pistols t-shirt and taking most of the fingernail off my right hand index finger in the process but it doesn't matter because we finished with 'Pretty Vacant' and 'Anarchy in the U.K' and I felt just a little bit of what it must have been like to be able to create a sound like that... and suddenly my life didn't feel quite as measly as it has recently- in fact it felt exciting. Very exciting indeed.

I'll never own a Coldplay album. Or a Keane album either. And nor should you.

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