Tuesday, June 17, 2008

13 Hours On A Bus

Writing from a cafe, due to no internet at home. This post is likely to be short, due to caffeine-induced jitteriness and low battery life. There are still a few key things I wanted to mention.

The first is that I've been getting my kids to write projects on radicals from the sixties. They have to do some context work first, and one of the questions is, "What kind of music did people listen to in this period?"

One of my kids took umbrage at this. "What do you mean?" He demanded. "They listened to all kinds of music. You know, blues, rock, jazz..."
"Yeah, that's a really good point, but what was popular music like back then?"
"What do you mean? Lots of music was popular back then!"
Eventually I just told him to look up what was number one on the charts for longest. But later that night it struck me. He's never known a world without youtube, myspace and itunes. He's never had to depend on the radio and latenight rage for his information. He therefore has no concept of popular music. And that's a weird notion for me - almost postmodern subculture theory come to life. We no longer have a popular music culture to define ourselves either through or against. The anarchist in me loves this idea, but fuck, it's going to be difficult for a fifteen year old kid to figure out what to rebel against.

The second thing - and it strikes me now that all three of these pressing concerns are at the very least tenuously thematically linked - is that my headphones broke the other day, forcing me to use the crappy free pair that TJ got from work. The strange thing about listening to crappy sound systems is that once you get over the initial kneejerk reaction ("Ugh! This sounds like ass!"), the new sounds highlight some things and de-emphasize others - a different pair of headphones essentially redefine your music. I find myself listening to bands I'd long neglected (world inferno friendship society, anyone?), just because they come off totally killer when the sound is bad.

The third thing is that the music teacher at my highschool was just inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. Turns out he was in the Triffids. When I asked him about it he told me it was weird being recognized for a band he started in highschool with some mates back in Perth (especially given his other band - the Blackeyed Susans - played with Johnny Cash). There's a movie being made about them too. The tenuous link between this post and the other two is that it seems like Phil is being defined differently by the public than he would define himself, and I guess will have to, for his own sanity, find somewhere comfortable between the two.


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