Jim Auton: Professional Cynic #2 – you’re not too cool for school

Jim Auton: Professional Cynic #2 – you’re not too cool for school

At a primal level, people want to please others, they want to be liked, they don’t want people to disagree, which may mean arguing to try to make them agree. But also people will change how they behave to suit others, change their opinions and beliefs to please, to make others like them, to receive praise and a following.

If what they think, or used to think is now out of touch from their peers then it’s time to change. And this seems to apply to their music taste as much as anything. Whilst they’d still argue that particular bands and artists shouldn’t be lumped in and pigeonholed with scenes or particular trends, they then chuck them in with the baby and bathwater when deciding their taste was horrible and these bands were in fact, always crap.

This is of course nonsense but they want to be ahead of, or at least going into the curve with the leading pack.

This isn’t even based on some terrible behaviour or incident that has recently come to light, or even that they have come to appreciate that the band or artist has a controversial opinion or life view that they now see as anachronistic, they just seem to think that only certain types of music are allowed to be nostalgically clung to like a childhood teddy or blanket.

I don’t have time for people who no longer think ‘Champagne Supernova‘ is an absolute beast, that ‘For Tomorrow‘ is perhaps Blur’s best song, that ‘Common People‘ is the song of the people, or that Expecting to Fly might actually be the best album of the nineties. You can’t now decide that East 17 were hip hop or 3T were three best thing since the Jackson 5 just because it’s cool to do so.

By all means we can debate and discuss the finer points. Yes, ‘Roll With It‘ and ‘Country House‘ were their worst singles to date and maybe it did prelude the rise in ladism but this wasn’t a contrived construct by the bands or the labels and management. It was an unfortunate side effect, mostly perpetrated by the media. And besides, you still had the antithesis in Jarvis, the NHS glasses and corduroy everything, writing poetry about the working-class struggle and being an awkward teenager rather than looking into your minds eye or trying to cop of in a nightclub.

Whilst too much nostalgia is probably a bad thing, looking back at your adolescence and thinking that everything was terrible and it was soundtracked exclusively by arseholes must be a depressing situation to find yourself in.

Except I don’t believe most of them. I don’t actually think they truly look back at their Blur or Gene or Supergrass records and think that that was all shit whilst stroking their beard to Nils Frahm or Dua Lipa.

Because whilst there’s nothing wrong with liking either of these acts, being such a snob that only ambient electronic or mainstream pop is allowed or good enough to be bothered with because they feel there is nothing new or exciting in guitar music, is at best, hypocritical. Not least as those lads and bucket hat wearing blokes that railed against The Spice Girls, Take That and club dance music in the first place were snobs, so why is the opposite not?

The best people are those that just don’t care what people think of them. They don’t have to try to be liked or change the way they behave because they were decent people in the first place or they’re happy with their past.

Maybe the others have something to regret, something to be ashamed of. That a particular album conjures long buried memories of their behaviour when it wasn’t such a recognised issue. Now they realise they were one of the arseholes and want to pile the earth back on top of it and forget about it.

Whatever their motivation, it’s not about what we were like then, it’s what we’re like now, how we treat people regardless of their sexual orientation or sex or race. You can’t change what you used to be like, you can only change who you are now.

No one is impressed with your funeral pyre of records from between 1994 and 1997. Equally no one really cares if you stick The Longpigs on and jump about your living room.

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