I’m So Bored Of The UKSA
Beauty can be found in peculiar places like Scotland. There is a place in Thamesmead called ‘Treetops Lane ’. It sounds like a lovely Shangri-La. But it isn’t. It’s in Thamesmead. In Camberwell I recently discovered ‘Sunray Avenue ’. It was a place of dark and dingy debauchery.
America has a monopoly on Popular Culture; they always have. Popular music was born there and every actor dreams of Hollywood. Even Danny Dyer.
There is something about the American Dream that captures the minds of suburban Britain. I recently came down with it myself after listening to a little bit too much early Bruce Springsteen – a quick shot of Steptoe and Son soon had me yearning for Blighty again though.
Springsteen’s album ‘Born To Run’ sums up the ideals of a young American alright. The desperate lover’s tale of leaving mundane lifestyle behind that is pictured in ‘Thunder Road’ carries through the whole album; taking in talk of exotic affairs such as neon lights, highways and state lines. All very picturesque and exciting; everything Grey Britain is not to kids of today (not that many yoof are Boss inspired of course but you get the idea. I’m sure that the rappers must be very similar to Bruce.)
And yet the album also highlights one of my main issues with letting America boss creativity. ‘10th Avenue Freezeout’. Why can’t the Americans – who created Rock n’ Roll remember – think of street names? This giant of culture has no Treetops Lane or Sunray Avenue. But it has a 44th Street. Even ‘New York’ is unimaginative.
Perhaps the greatest creation by an American is the myth that they are the kings of culture and creativity.
I’m obviously not the first to pick up on this. In 1977 The Clash sang ‘I’m so Bored of the USA’ – ‘Yankee detectives Are always on the TV ‘Cos killers in America Work seven days a week’ – They then almost immediately sold out on the punk ethos and went to the USA.
I personally think British Culture is at an all time low; I can’t work out whether this is because of an audience willing to settle for less or because of a poor standard of writing and creativity (note that I have yet to re-read this).
The Transatlantic likes of Coldplay, Mumford and Sons and The Vaccines, who are ironically a terminal plague (their witty name choice suggesting a level of thought largely lacking from their ‘art’), manage to say remarkably little in an age where there should be so much to say. How can one resist writing about Nick Clegg?
Sure there are certain things that we should embrace from our American cousins. The Motown sound will never be beaten. But in return we gave them Beatles and Stones in a bargain 2 for 1 deal.
I highly doubt that somewhere in a New Jersey suburb an ostracised teen is listening to The Jam’s kitchen sink drama – perhaps ‘Saturday’s Kids’ where the Saturday Girls go to discos and drink Babycham – and they dream of a world of baggy trousers and half time results.
Is our British life so dull that we have to live an American Daydream?
One only had to look at Twitter or The Facebook a few weeks back to see how saturated we were by the SuperBowl (Despite most Brits thinking this was some kind of Bird Watching event. Get it? Superb Owl. Or was that not funny? I’m sure an American ‘Comic’ talking in front of fake brick walls couldn’t better it).
Wouldn’t it be nice (ironic Beach Boys reference) to enjoy our own culture though? The whimsy of Marriott and Lane, the bile of Nicky Wire, the wit of Ray Davies. Surely they can relay our lives to us in a way that Jon Bon-Jovi or Jay Z can’t?
I urge you to Google Ronnie Lane and Ray Davies now.
Anyway I must end there. I’ve got Curry for tea. And I think Friends is on actually. Have a nice day!