The Church Of Me
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Kissing in the churchyard, I know a righteous woman

Sunday, July 20, 2003
FRAGMENTS OF A FORTHCOMING BOOK: THE NEXT FIVE SECONDS AFTER DEATH

I will not comment on the attendant irony of the Prologue to The Church Of Me and the events in Longworth on Thursday evening.

We never really knew him. He always popped in the shop for a tin of ready rubbed. He kept to himself. He was well-loved. The luxury of affection granted when it’s too late for the recipient to acknowledge it.

What an embarrassment. Did he have no shame? No consideration for Abingdon property prices? Couldn’t he have done the decent thing and done it in…I don’t know…Cromer?

He did it. Now you’re never going to believe me until I do it as well, or better.

He was in the wrong line of work. He died so that other people could justify their own jobs, never forgetting that only 5% of all jobs are in fact “necessary.”

You’ll never vote for these wretched charlatans again, will you?

Then turn the pages of today’s paper. Read about how Archer plans to bankrupt everyone who’s ever crossed him when he comes out of the nick tomorrow. Read onwards to learn about James Hewitt’s ambition to become a Tory MP.

Remember how infinitely worse and more hellish the alternative would be.

But we always vote for mirrors, never for idols. Thus does Big Brother decompose into a waiting room at Stansted, complete with haystack lacking a needle in the field outside. We want the nuclear family. Parents – the virgin and the housewife. Children – the thug and the zombie. Sustain that breath and suppress it for one week.

Or for longer if you’re Adam Ant. Rod Hull, Philip Larkin, Paul Gascoine, Adam Ant – the list of misanthropic right-wing notables contains its own logic. And, certainly in the cases of Larkin and Ant – and maybe Gascoine, by dint of his presence on “World In Motion” – the art excuses the eager extinguishing of their own, already dim lights. Adam Ant was, with the Police, a supreme example of how insufferable musicians suddenly make perfect sense when they start having hits. Before Kings Of The Wild Frontier Adam and the Ants were about glum glam. Decca Records for McLaren’s sake! Then McLaren stripped him of his band, made far better and more honestly (!) mischievous records with Bow Wow Wow. Then Ant eclipsed everything with his unironic Nietzsche Goes To The NAAFI persona.

“I’m standing here! What do I see? A big NO-THIIIIIIIING!” (“Antmusic,” whose inverted commas are every bit as necessary as those of “Heroes”)

Antmusic was only ever about the Ant, and as a side treat it was the pop which justified post-punk. Hear how all the guitar scrawls from Gang of Four, the percussive punctum of the Pop Group, the sly cock of the head towards the Bush Tetras, the polemical nod towards and then away from Scritti, suddenly moulded with what he knew from his Tornados, his Dave Clark Five, his Dave Dee, above all his Gary Glitter, and exploded in “Kings Of The Wild Frontier,” all over “Dog Eat Dog,” the kind of genuine fake “World Music” which “Honest” Damon Albarn will never quite understand. He was as punk as Stanley Baxter and as showbiz as James Chance.

It was always all about showbiz, but did he realise what his music was still offering us? The Arto Lindsay rancidity of a guitar throb which pulses under “Stand And Deliver”? The Throbbing Gristle backwards breakbeats and orgasmic tubular bells which climax “Prince Charming”? Above all else, “Ant Rap,” one of the most avant-garde records ever to make the Top 3, sounding like a popped-up offcut from PiL’s Flowers Of Romance? How all the Burundi drumming carried the unmistakable subtext of Orange Order parades? (take the latter especially into account when listening to what Dick Witts and Andrew Wilson did with the same ingredients on “Taboos” by The Passage, another of the ten greatest singles of the 1980s).

Then there were no Ants but plenty of pre-Robbie Williams solipsism – all his 1982 hits were entirely about himself, even “Goody Two Shoes” which was ostensibly a good-natured jibe at Kevin Rowland – and then decline, interrupted only by 1984’s unexpectedly aggressive “Apollo 9” and ruined terminally by 1985’s “Vive Le Rock.” Whereas five years earlier he had pronounced that “rock music’s lost its flavour” he now retreated from the future (“She’s scratching her records/But she’s not scratching mine!”). He used his five minutes on Live Aid to promote it, because no ego allows even global misery to interrupt or disabuse its unquenchable and unbeatable pain.

And do you really ring the Sun when you come out of sectioning? Does he need to be seen to suffer?

Is writing this bloody blog any more morally defensible?


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