I was floating in the multi media bubble when Scouting For Girls appeared in the ether- there they were on my TV.
I had never heard them before. I knew they were staples of ‘alternative’ radio and assumed they were some sort of watered down guitar schlock- the kind of lite weight indie schmindie that has become the staple of the form. I was shocked to hear something so watered down it was like weak piss streaming out of the TV- somehow they are still considered alternative, but what are they exactly alternative to?
When alternative or independent started it was in the punk wars- for me alternative means someone like Crass- a visceral, powerful and political music that was representing alternative culture and existed outside the mainstream. How the fuck did this become Scouting For Girls, how the fuck did a genuine alternative culture get turned into this mush? What do Scouting For Girls offer in terms of alternative? How come a whole culture – a whole way of life, gets turned into a marketing handle employed by major labels to sell shit but with a pretend edge to make people feel that they were, somehow, special?
How did we end up with radio stations pretending to be alternative by playing this mush but blanking out any noisy, spikey music because it wasn’t ‘radio friendly’? How the fuck did we allow these spineless wimps to dictate our culture back to us? Why did we allow Crass to become Scouting For Girls?
There is no problem with mainstream culture- there are many great pop records- we love great pop songs when they don’t pretend to be some sort of alternative culture. The problem with these bands is that they squeeze out the genuine adventure and move the goal posts so far away that alternative culture now means bland radio, dull mid-table festivals with added ironic boy bands on the bill, mainstream shops flogging ‘alternative’ clothes- a weak piss culture of anonymity, dull pop-lite records with zero meaning sold to the same middle management goons who have wrecked this country and listen to this pretend naughty music on the way to work.
This is not a matter of who is better or worse and of course there are some people who love Scouting For Girls- good for them but we demand our culture back and we demand our space to get heard and not edged out by this idea of what alternative is.
Once when I was in Barcelona I walked past a mainstream clothes chain that was selling ‘punk’ t shirts, someone had sprayed ‘hands off our fucking culture’ on the window- is there a way to do that to the music biz clowns who have stolen the clothes of the revolution?