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March 02, 2013


Charles Butler

You seem to be excluding immigrants, multicultural children and a whole variety of modern permanent tourists from having an opinion on anything.


It carries a freight of cultural meanings but most of their admirers aspire to be identified with them rather than being naturally associated with them. That is why most fans of The Smiths are unambiguously heterosexual; most fans of Billy Bragg are slap-bang in the middle classes and most fans of rap are more suburban than white picket fences. The thin white Dave has sold 140,000,000 albums to a fair few gregarious and popular people.

Thank you for the links of late.


Cameron and The Smiths?! Reminds me of a comedy sketch I caught a few minutes of, on Radio 4 Thurs eve. The guy explained that the reason Cameron was so cosy with Obama was because it was the only way he would ever have a 'black' friend.


Surely the irritation we feel when Cameron claims to like The Smiths, or Clegg to like Bowie's Berlin-era output, is the inauthenticity of the claim.

The Smiths were the default indie band when Cameron was at uni, while the "Bowie did his best work in Berlin" cliche is just received opinion.

If Cameron had revealed a passion for Einstürzende Neubauten, or Clegg had said that The Laughing Gnome was superior to Heroes, then they'd be worth listening to.


I'm a right-wing Tory but I love the Marxist Manic Street Preachers. :-P


The manic street preachers are probably more anarcho-syndicalist than marxist.


@ FATE - but the inauthenticityy arises from precisely what I'm claiming - that their backgrounds make it imposssible to be a full, authentic fan.
@ Richard, Ben - but my point is not about left-right politics. It's about relationships to power/existing orders - the difference between being insiders and outsiders. I suspect some kinds of righty can like the MSPs, and I see no inconsistency in middle class folk liking Billy Bragg, as he's long appealed to liberal metropolitan types.


Not really agreeing or disagreeing with the post, but who why the emphasis on what these guys listened to (or pretended to)?
Does no one care what books they read or films they saw?

Luis Enrique

But you could have an opinion in polo and skiing if you frequently did both. Maybe Clegg has listened to Heroes 1000 times. Maybe Cameron listened to Hatful of Hollow and wept in his teenage bedroom. Isn't art supposed to transcend things like what life you lead? Does this arrogance work in both directions, say a bus driver presuming to have opinions on Wagner?


The trouble about being a "full authentic fan" is that there is always someone who can out trump you on being an authentic fan. Been a fan of X for 20 years eh ? But where were your 22 years ago in their early days.

And Bowie"s alienation surely died a ghastly death when he sat down with some investment bankers and launched $55m of asset backed securities.


I think Gordon Brown and the Arctic Monkeys also makes your point.


This is nothing to do with Cameron and Clegg: it's an inherent contradiction of pop music. Many successful artists create an exclusive, often antiestablishment image, with the implication that their fans are discriminating and cool. But the economics of pop (esp pre-Internet) require large audiences (the clue is in the word "pop"). People feel revulsion when uncool people are revealed to be fans of cool music, because it reveals what we all know deep down: that you don't go 9x Platinum without a lot of uncool people buying your records.


"He has no right to like Bowie". What a pathetic thing to say. Luis Enrique and Shinsei1967 above have it right! How terrible for you that those whom you consider to have 'uncool' politics are fans of your 'cool' pop stars.


Erm, Chris, I hate to break it to you, but you're a middle class British economist. So your claims to enjoy Country and Western music are patently ridiculous...

.. which is to say I don't think this is at all right as stated. The whole point about great art is that it speaks to essential parts of the human condition, and people from different eras, countries, and backgrounds can all relate to it.

But might you still have a point. The tourist in "Common People" desperately wants to be someone he isn't. If Cameron genuinely loves the Smiths, then fair play to him. But the suspicion may be that he's talking it up for political purposes.

John, Reigate

So from this post it is logical to assume that Cameron and Clegg can talk about the Sex Pistols as much as they want because they like causing anarchy.



Gordon Brown never claimed to like the Arctic Monkeys. Does anyone seriously believe that a 60 year old Scottish grump (without teenage children) with no interest in music would ever have claimed such a thing, even if trying to "lighten" his public persona.

A radio intrerviewer played him some AM music and asked what he thought.

"I think that would get you up in the morning" was what he said.


ISTR Gordon Brown was seriously into Big Star, which rather makes your point.

Luis Enrique

Larry I think you need to give Common People another listen. The tourist is a she, and she's after a bit of sexy time with Jarvis.

I think you could make the case that this fetishism of working class authenticity is what creates tourists in the first place. She studied sculpture at Saint Martin's College, so no doubt needs to live like Common People in order to "properly understand" some things that would otherwise be closed to her.

Churm Rincewind

This post is so nonsensical that I hardly know where to start. Since when did anyone not have a “right” to like the music they like?

You seem to suggest that your opinion of Bowie and The Smiths are in some way more authentic and more valid than those of Messrs Clegg and Cameron. How so? What makes you so special?

As I have remarked before, a preference for performers like David Bowie is merely an indication of age rather than intrinsic merit. It is entirely to be expected that middle-agers such as Cameron, Clegg, and with respect your good self will adulate David Bowie. Why then do you resent their views?

By way of equivalence, you say that you “have no right to opinions on polo ponies and skiing holidays”. Why? Is it because you feel yourself uninformed and ignorant on these matters? Yet you opine on music. The day you post on Beethoven’s last quartets is the day I start taking your opinions on music seriously.

Churm Rincewind

On reflection, I apologise for the dyspeptic and unduly personal nature of my previous post. But the thrust of my argument stands - no-one, and I mean no-one, has the right to dispute the authenticity of another's tastes.

Alec C

It is totalitarian to deny anybody, even Clegg, Freedom of Speech. He has a right to an opinion. He does not have a right to have that opinion listened to. You are proposing an in-group censorship I find quite abhorrent. By your logic, Clegg could deny your right to an opinion on government because you don't know about it.


I'm surprised there has been no mention of the notorious incident involving John Prescott and Danbert Nobacon in which the latter threw a bucket of water over the former.


"Cheap 'olidays in other peoples' miseree-ee!"

Peter Cook - The Rock'n'Roll Business Blogger

Indeed Corporal Clegg is right on this one http://humandynamics.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/david-bowie-2/

Nick Rowe

Chris: it's always annoying when all sorts of riff-raff start: liking the same music/wearing the same clothes/driving the same cars/using the same slang/living in the same neigbourhood/eating the same food/etc. as we do. It means we can't signal who we are anymore, and have to find some other way to display our identity and recognise people like us and keep our club exclusive.

There must be some sort of aural equivalent to the complaint of "appropriation of voice". You have no right to enjoy listening to that!


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