Disney is killing my soul

A new Disney animated blockbuster. Oh joy, oh bliss.

BIG-HERO

Look at this shit. Look at it. I am going to be looking at it for the next four years. I am going to see slight variations of the characters as drawings, referential plot lines, tacky 3D animations (mostly of the big white blobby guy because he’s a bunch of spheres). It’s set in fucking SanFranTokyo or some other animé hell basket. Every little weeaboo student is going to be pumping this crud out for four years as I slowly crawl in a mental corner and die.

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Thankfully just a search for ‘worst anime’.

Because they will come in, and they will say I WANT TO BE A 3D ANIMATOR and MY FAVOURITE FILM IS BY PIXAR and any attempt to wean them off this dream will be met by angry ratemyprofessor feedback and ‘we are not studying enough animation skills’ and ‘why is not every single course at university about how I will work at Pixar someday?’

Because you will never work at Pixar. You will not be listed at the end of a Hollywood animated film any more than you will be president of the fucking united states. And meanwhile the world is a cruel hard place where you might have to get a real job where the fonts on a local government website are the only creative act you get all month. And it is my job to somehow pack you onto the bus and then as soon as the bus is moving tell you that it’s not a choo-choo to dream land.

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likewise

You will have to write essays, you will have to solve problems, you will have to draw people so their heads are in proportion to their bodies. I will give you hell because your story idea is unbelievable, tacky and stupid and no one wants to watch your animé Disney rip off crap. But most of all you are going to have to make somebody believe that you are somehow better than the 90,000 other Arts students that graduate in this tin pot country every damn year. That means you are going to have to become research active dammit – even if it kills you (or me).

I am become Death, destroyer of (animated) worlds.

If I didn’t care it wouldn’t matter. But I actually care about the munchkins, and sometimes when somebody is going the wrong way, well, you just have to take a stand.

And a reminder of places that don’t really care…

What to do with “Australian Film”?

Have you ever owned a pet that uncontrollably shits everywhere? It’s usually a cat but probably ferrets and turtles are just as bad. You love the little blighter to death but it would be really great if you could somehow CORK IT UP. Meanwhile you get pretty good with paper towels.

This is the Australian Film Industry. Love the poor little furry thing but Jesus will it stop shitting things out?

Recently three more films plopped onto screens around this great nation, slid down onto the floor and were mopped up with very few people even noticing. Much discussion ensues about where the funding went (and I must say that the 7 million bucks pissed away on A Heartbeat Away is a sackable offence) but all of this really misses the point.

Let’s start with two phrases, and see how they resonate with you:

A Good Film.      A Good Australian Film.

Note how the second phrase seems to pull the punch. This is a Good Film, but it’s Australian. Seeing as all you really wanted was the Good, the second descriptor can only be a qualification. The only people that would really care about Australian are Screen Australia, because Screen by itself doesn’t collect much glory.

And, really why does the federal government fund films? Well, we have a grudge. Our first film studio opened in 1897, a division of the Salvation Army. They produced the first long format film / mixed media presentation in 1899 called Soldiers of the Cross. We made the first feature film The Story Of The Kelly Gang in 1906. Australian film production was bigger than that of the UK and the USA up until 1912 when some idiot banned bush ranger (basically cowboy) films and the distributors signed a deal with theatres to import cheap American films.

Australia does two things (a) come up with ideas well before other countries and then (b) totally fuck it up. As you play audio samples on your mobile phone marvel at two things that came out this country – samplers and WiFi. That the CSIRO won back the rights to WiFi is unusual, that Fairlight created a giant white elephant that was quickly nibbled away is typical. (And have you seen the Fairlight CMI app for the iPhone? They want 12 bucks for the DEMO, the full thing is 40 dollars.  GarageBand is 5 bucks. Fairlight will not learn).

The current paradigm came about  when John Gorton become prime minister in 1968. Some facts about Gorton: He went to school with Errol Flynn, who probably used the Inception device on him given later events. In second war he was a fighter pilot, and losing a dogfight landed pretty much face first. It would be two years before he would get hospital treatment which was two years too late – he was the first guinea pig to run a country. He became PM on the machinations that followed the disappearance of Harold Holt who it was said was captured by a Chinese submarine, but I suspect Errol Flynn. Initially slightly to the right of Genghis Khan, he mellowed rapidly and went on a mad spending spree for the arts, starting up AFTRS, the Australia Council, and the Australian Film Development Corporation. He would in 1973 sponsor the law decriminalising homosexuality in this country. Good for him.

(I met John Gorton and his wife. The meeting was photographed by a newspaper. When it was published they had mysteriously replaced myself and wife with some other couple. Again I blame Errol Flynn).

Once the government started to fund films there was a gold rush of what are now called Ozploitation films, which over some time honed into our golden age of pan flutes, little girls in slow motion and Mel Gibson. Australian films were for a while pretty cool, but that was a while back and the people that made it happen have all gone overseas where you can get a reasonable budget. Leaving a large hole that just never seems to heal.

I am the doctor.

First, geography is no longer of any importance when one of the largest nations on earth is FaceBook. Australia is just another suburb within flying distance of the main shopping mall, hardly exotic. Nationhood is quaint. Every time somebody starts a project dependent on nation, they are polluting art with politics. The word ‘Australian’ should no longer appear before ‘film’.

Secondly, somebody should go around to AFTRS with a broom and sweep out the 1970’s. AFTRS is a training ground for cavalry officers – who ride off gallantly on their shining white horses straight into machine gun fire like the French at the start of world war one – but played on an endless loop. Film school is a kind of military training that has not adapted to guerilla warfare. The guerillas are winning.

Thirdly, ‘film’ itself is a questionable means of story telling bolstered by a wall of spurious and pretentious pseudo-science. That somebody somewhere is still lecturing about the filmic ideas of Lacan is as horrifying as the call to enforce creationism in science classes. ‘Film’ is a vain attempt to insulate against the hordes that happily make their own moving pictures and upload them to the web – 35 hours a minute. ‘Film’ despises the hordes at the same time pretending to entertain them. The neuroticism of this relationship is all on the side of film makers, the hordes don’t give a fuck.

Fourthly, if you only have enough ideas for a short and only enough money for a short then make a short. That goes for a whole nation as much as an individual. Look how our animated short films are world class. Do that.

‘Film’ started with the cinematograph. It was ended by the DV camera.

COMMENT ON ‘WHAT TO DO WITH AN AUSTRALIAN FILM?’
As always you make me laugh out loud Uncle Tom. And laughter leads to thinking and thinking leads to commenting…

Alas, I am dismayed at the post i want to comment on has its comment fields disabled..? Thus Im am commenting here as a by proxy way of commenting  on the previous post entitled “What to do with an Australian Film” (hopeful that you may paste it over to its correctly associated post)
I too am frustrated with Australian Film and indeed my frustration is on many levels;
– the word FILM itself
– The idea that feature films are top of an arbitrary hierarchy
– that in the age of netflicks we should even think box office numbers relevant.
– that Australia is still obsessed with ‘quirky Aussiness and ‘telling our stories’
– that we insist on making $10 million films when the best you can hope for at the Aussie feature in Australian is 2million (and that assumes its done well)
BUT… where I have to call you a point is your assertions about AFTRS.
You say “somebody should go around to AFTRS with a broom and sweep out the 1970′s.” You’re not the first to say it and indeed when i was at the national screenwriters conference back in feb I coped a public whacking from playwright David Williamson who seemed to think AFTRS and its focus on Auteur Directors was the primary problem with Australian Screenplays being so bad. (if nothing else I think DW greatly over estimates the influence of AFTRS) But… my main response is to suggest that the broom has indeed already gone through and the AFTRS you refer to is, in fact, no more.
Now, of course I do work at AFTRS and my federally funded welfare payments to do so, ensure that i must defend the place. But I think I can respond with some evidence not conjecture that the old auteur feature film centric cavalry-charging artiste is not the dominant paradigm at AFTRS any more (and hasn’t been for a good number of years) That old the paradigm and perspective has shifted seismically. Of course, the results of this change we shan’t see until our graduates stat making good stuff over the next 5-10 years but such is the nature of educational institutions.
The perception that AFTRS is Auteur Art centric and introspectively self absorbed doesn’t hold up when you look at the kinds of courses we teach and how they’re taught. I don’t want to espouse an essay so I’ll go in dot points.
– the first two weeks for all Grad Dip students are spent studying Genre cinema and working collaboratively on no-budget, fast turn around, all digital sketches in genres of scifi, horror, rom-com, magic-realism, mockumentary and so on. This sets a collaborative and audience-focused tone to the entire course for all students.
– The Foundation diploma is an all digital laptop and video camera 1yr program where the core modules include virtual worlds, website development, 360 transmedia storytelling and game design along side classical storytelling, screenwriting, doco and short filming.
– AFTRS has numerous courses in numerous states specifically on animation, 2d and 3d, compositing and Animation Directing which are enormously successful.
– There are barely any projects made at AFTRS on film anymore. I think only 2 last year across the whole school and all courses. DSLRs, RED, Sony VG10’s, Alexa and so on are the mainstay. Its very much a digital school with a very forward-thinking future focused head of cinematography in Kim Bannerham.
– The Screenwriting department has been completely reinvented with an entirely new curriculum under the guidance of Ross Grayson Bell (the creative producer of Fight Club) and a mix of Australian and International teachers who’ve worked across film, Tv and online media. We have current students in this program for example working in placements with Australian cable TV drams producing parallel web-series projects.
– This year saw a brand new graduate course that i co-designed and am teaching which is specifically dedicated to Online Episodic Series development. Every student is handed a laptop, a Sony VG10 HD video camera and a backpack to put them in. The course focuses a long-form process of developing an episodic drama or reality series to be delivered online and exploiting the delivery and audience engagement opportunities the web offers. The students continually shoot, sketch, draft, upload and shoot again – very much a guerilla approach to fleshing ideas and addressing that major missing element of so much australian screens production – proper development time. The course is also designed to circumvent the short comings of short-films as both industry calling card and learning vehicle and focus on making audience-focused stories with broader appeal and Bigger ideas.
These are just a few of the forward-thinking programs AFTRS offers and we havnt even got to the research projects we’re undertaking and publications we’re producing all focused on ensuring we are thinking hard about the future and not self-absorbed about the past.
The real challenge for AFTRS is communicating to the wider world that the 70s have long been swept away, and prompt everyone to see that AFTRS, as the national screen arts and broadcast school, is very much alive and vibrant and relevant in the digital age.
Your criticisms of the problems with ‘Australian Film’ are more than valid – tragically so – but your perspective on AFTRS as an ongoing part of that problem is sorely outdated my friend.

‘sapnin

I would love to tell you what is going on. But then I’d have to kill you. And I’d have to travel around to people’s houses to do that and it’s Sunday night so I’d rather stay in. Mind you, I could arrange for people to come here so I could kill them which would be more convenient. But then I’d probably have to wait around for people to show up. And I’d go out and come back and find a note CAME AROUND FOR YOU TO KILL ME BUT YOU WEREN’T IN. So really it’s best if I keep on being mysterious about WHAT IS GOING ON.

Actually the funny thing is the closer I get to being able to say, “Yes, OK I know what is going to happen and I can announce it now”, the more likely that it will cause a sudden plot twist where the spy woman that I thought was shadowing me is actually a male relative who is running away from aliens or something like that. But not as interesting.

You see, last week I thought that January wasn’t going to happen. Because I hadn’t heard anything for a while and I went to the website of the organisers and there was nothing listed so I thought, well that’s yet another disappointing life experience, shall I become an alcoholic? No! I will update my web presence instead. And I wrote to the person organising December, who had started last January. Are you following?

But now the person who was organising December hasn’t written back and I suddenly heard that January is on. What’s more if I do January then I can’t do December because somebody would get cross for reasons that I can’t say. Or I’d have to kill you and that’s too much trouble. God I am so grateful that I don’t Twitter, or I’d have to announce nothing several times an hour.

Look maybe it’s better if I say what ISN’T going to happen. Is that OK? Great.

  • I am not adopting an African child, nor is an African child adopting me.
  • You may have heard something about Dolly Parton, it is completely without foundation.
  • Chocolate Clinker biscuits are not coming back onto the market despite being the greatest invention of mankind. I die a little when I accept this.
  • There are NO plans for any new Severed Heads record, tour or TV show.

When I actually have details that won’t disappear the moment I try rely on them, I’ll spill the beans. If I have beans. I don’t have any right at this moment.

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Shipping of CDs is a bit late. I will now attempt emotional blackmail … I’m sorry but work is frantic right now. Last Thursday went from 9AM to 9PM, Friday I was busy building a new video production course, Saturday I got to filling orders as well as editing a video for The Interpreter. Today I allocated 1 hour of human contact before getting back to study and … and … birds pecked me. Yes.

New!

Some 12 years ago a fellow looked me in the eye and said, “You used to be ahead of everything!”

This was a low moment in a low period. It was a few years since the band had fallen from a Top 20 single to no label, no money, no audience in an impressively rapid decline. One moment we were top of the craft – next moment the style of music we represented was ‘dated’ and I was selling gear to eat. The local label had folded in a heap, our producer member was dead and our Canadian label had earlier tested the air, dumped anything with a synthesiser and invested heavily in grrrl rock. Which you would, if survival was your first instinct.

My instinct was to just keep doing what we did before labels and singles and all that. But the young audience wasn’t there. They had heard a ‘new thing’ – and it was Seattle Grunge Rock. The older ones were breeding. We’d play, but they just wouldn’t come. After a while we just did The Big Day Out as a yearly guerilla video ambush on the littlies. And after that there was just no fun in it any more. We stopped. That’s when the photos stop in the sevcom archive.

“You used to be ahead of everything!” He was sure that was the transgression that had earned this decline. All we had to do was …

I looked at him and frantically ran through my head just how I was going to somehow be ahead of everything again. It was difficult to work out as ‘everything’ was at that stage entering into what we now know to be ‘just about anything’. True, electronic music was something you scraped off your shoe, but being ahead of Nirvana was like out dancing your mum. Music had regressed 20 years. What was their secret manoeuvre that I had to discover? Surely it wasn’t just a flight back to ‘good old rock n roll’?

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Meanwhile we had lost our labels so we started selling our music online through SDF, almost apologetically. Sorry people we’re not cool any more. Starting with a disc bitterly called severything. Back then there was no Pay Pal or anything like that so we had people fax us their orders or mail them. Sometimes we’d give away those new ‘mp3 files’ on the web. The first album we did only online was Haul Ass financed by the good people listed on the sleeve. That was 1998.

About 3 years later I realised all that was actually ahead of, well not everything, but let’s just remember that sevcom.com is older than google.com

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But this isn’t a triumphant story where we prove somebody wrong. It’s actually an unsolved puzzle because the notion of being ‘ahead’ has gone the way of the polka. Now you can be electronic or grunge or whatever the hell. There’s no-one ahead, no future. You’re just an atom in a plasma. His complaint turned out to be about music.

Over the last decade I’ve watched the young start to pick up the synthesisers again and (I have say with a hint of sadness) ape the music that we all made a long time ago. They particularly like the old analogue equipment with which they make old analogue music. The radio is filled with 1983, alongside a whole bunch of other decades – just not this one.

And letters are starting to arrive. Tell us about the Old Times. Tell us about ‘post punk’. Do you have any videos you can show? (No but I have a bit of Super-8). Help us reclaim this lost horizon…

Once required to be ahead, I’m now supposed to be some giant knee on which witty historical anecdotes will be told to children. They want me to do anything BUT try to find new ways. Stay back there locked in the past. Sure I can remember the highs for you, but I can also remember being thrown out once used, and few people giving a damn. I spent the next decade moving on, and it obviously raises some hackles to have all that movement ignored in a tidy historical ‘youth orientated’ summary. And what can I really say? We did what we did then for reasons that no longer exist. No matter what gear you might collect the moment is lost.

Or I’m dead wrong. I have some students that have decided to work on live video synthesis but not with new computer based tools. They have seen work by Botborg and they want to work early 90’s style. I scratched my head until John Gillies told me he still had some old video gear stashed away. I showed the students how to wire up cables to fuck up a MX-30 vision mixer (to make it feedback into the digital store). For me it was like trying to recall an incantation from the age of legends. For them it is … that’s where I don’t know what it is. Like oil painting?

The letters from researchers, the teaching of young artists, occasional offers to pay the band to re-emerge for ‘hits and memories’ – these things are now a challenge equivalent to the comment 12 years ago. So the past gets misrepresented in the process of starting anew. Do I refuse to be made into a cartoon even if that might be the best way to kick things along for a new wave of artists?

Pride or service?

ns-best

How to write Chick-Lit

Hey cats! How’s it swinging? This is Astronaut Vincent T Grant orbiting back into your space face for another How To. Truth is, I never expected to be back with you so fast but the main guy here is not in a thriving way. So we were doing tequila shots around the back of his work and he reached the worm first. I was like, ‘son, not on the job, that’s no class’. But I guess him being an academic and all he just chomped it down fast. An hour later he’s got some wild ideas going. ‘I AM THE SANTA‘ he says. So do I get a present?

Nope he says I have to write about Chick-Lit.

(I was going to write about how to make a rock opera. The second wife and I once went to see a show called HAIR. Years later the third lady and I saw one called CATS. I said at the time I should write a show called CAT HAIR and it’d be twice as good.)

Now you are going to say, Vincent, what would an old man like you know about writing ironic self debasing novels for young women? Well you see it’s like a chair you bought from IKEA. You get a bunch of struts and some Allen keys to assemble the chair and the instructions are written in gooby gooby with some pictures. Believe you me, a space mission is just like that except you are floating upside down. There ain’t no man in the agency better than me at piecing together a robot arm and this is no different.

So let’s open the box and make sure we have all the parts.

PART A is the fat ugly girl. She’s not really that fat or ugly but she has to be kinda dowdy and drink a lot of fruity vodka for this thing to work. That connects to PART B which is the cute guy who was burned in a previous relationship and is now cynical. You need to use ROD A which is their sibling like relationship which conceals the real attraction that PART A is hiding for B. PART C is the bitchy boss woman which goes up above PART A and connects via ROD B which is the exploitative employment contract. Got that?

OK now you need the large ROD C which is an impending marriage between PART B and PART C which everybody knows is a real disaster waiting to happen. This needs a nut at either end. PART A should at this point hang helplessly below the the other two, and the structure should seem pretty stable.  Here’s the turning point: We have to bend it a bit to accommodate PART D, which depending whether you have purchased model 34 or 56 is either PART A’s hairdresser BFF or a comedy gay guy. Either way the trick is to have PART D leverage PART A into taking the weight off ROD A and passing their combined weight onto STRUT D that makes a new connection with PART B that counteracts ROD C.

If you do this just right PART A can be seen at an angle where she suddenly doesn’t seem nearly as fat, ROD C breaks off, PART C flies off out the window and ROD B swings around to elevate PART A up to where the bitch was. You now have a nice join between PARTs A and B on two levels. PART D cries and claps its hands like an idiot.

You do that on a space walk.

Now I want to get back to my idea for a Rock Opera.

Some people might think the plot or the music is the most important thing. They would have not seen CATS. It didn’t have a plot and the music was appropriate for a lot of people dressed up as animals being sexy on each other. I would do something which was more classy. And this starts with the right costumes.

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You would enjoy this guy singing.

This is opera, like in Bugs Bunny. I go for the ‘olde tyme’ costumes myself. I want them to have powdered wigs like in real operas. And horned helmets. We need a mechanical dragon. Two dragons.

Now you’re saying Vincent, this frock coat and powdered wig thing is for Mozart or something. But I don’t think so. I think the kids like a show and wigs have been keeping people entertained a long time. Maybe some parents will come along, more money for me. No matter what age, people like a classy act.

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Wigs and frock coats are always class.

Maybe I could glue some horns onto my helmet. Just saying.

Dinner bell’s ringing, gotta go. But listen, you and me make this opera happen next time!

– Vincent

Sample Culture

I missed a chance to hate something. That sucks. Now I have to try catch up.

I quit reading Adbusters when it stopped being a spray can and started to apologise for advertising. Adbusters dropped its guts, became something that we used to put in the waiting room at the ad agency. Oh how ironic. They still think they are culture jamming, the liars.

Anyway, got an infrequent gig where I have to teach VJ and sample culture at the Australian Film Television Radio School. This is as good as gigging Fruity Loops on laptops at the Conservatorium of Music a few years ago. Wearing a suit. Which I did. The AFTRS gig  has the potential to offend somebody somewhere so I IMMEDIATELY SAID YES.

Problem then is that I have to teach sample culture, which has the potential to suck badly, as 90 percent of sample culture is thieving neo hippy bullshit. But I think I have a good angle worked out that involves Eisenstein’s montage, Freud’s dream work, Jung’s collective unconscious, inkblots, memes, power politics and a few other things that young minds need for nourishment. It also involves culture jamming, so I peeked at Adbusters.

Where I saw this entertaining article.

This is curious, because there was once a time when I would have detected the stench of an incoming plague well in advance. Did I not say that techno was the music they would use to march us into World War Three? I did. Did I not lament the replacement of lyrics with fascist imperatives to Get Up, Get Down, Roll Over and Beg like a little dog? I did and was shunned since that time. Did I not identify Mandlebrots as psychedelic bird shit? Did I not pinpoint Nirvana as the day the music industry lost its nerve and retreated 20 years? And NIN as the Wal*Mart of Industrial? I claim the right to be called curmudgeon. Curmudgeon, C’est Moi.

I am old. I missed this one. Or did I?

Your Honours: In my defence I’d noticed the bits but missed the totality. Yes, there is a shop up the road where the youngsters queue for bread. Then sit outside on milk crates, before driving off in daddy’s Porsche. Yes, everybody is collecting cassettes and paperbacks again, they are so ironic. They have thick rimmed glasses with no glass in them. All of that. It’s just that, like Douglas Haddow says, it’s not much of a movement. Christ, it’s not even funny.

It’s midnight right now: outside my window the kids are piling out of the local hipster pub. They’re ironically singing Ian Dury’s Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick (from 1978) and somebody is ironically blowing a clown horn on their ironic hipster bicycle in time with the chant. There’s been times when I wished I was young again but this isn’t one of them.

This is serious. Your Honours, where did we go wrong? Did we deconstruct our culture so much that our children have nothing left to tear up? Has post modernism led to post childhood? Admit it. I feel like joining the Catholic church and blowing up a few laundromats just to create a bit of senseless beauty. Why don’t they?

But Your Honours, perhaps this is a furphy. Usually it’s the people in the movement that set the language and it spills out. This sounds like the ‘hipster’ tag has come from outside and is an attempt to encapsulate a random collection of nothing in particular. It’s people like Adbusters that desperately need to sum something up, and voila we have a movement. Christ, there was a band in the 70’s called the Native Hipsters and they were using the term for mocking 30 years ago.

Maybe we should stop mocking their complete lack of taste (not bad taste, lack of taste) in music, and start to praise their exquisiste taste in Facebook updates?

I’m lost.

There is no such thing as 80’s music.

The Human League. Started with a cover of You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling & slides of sixties TV shows and ended up (as H17) as a northern soul group and (as HL) The Archies. Basically electronic baby boomers.

The B52s. Notably not the B82s.

Shakin’ Stevens. You’re not even trying.

The Bangles. The Go Gos. Because no one had ever done a manufactured all girl group before.

Cabaret Voltaire. Damn shame their best work was Velvet Underground & Sky Saxon and The Seeds.

The Police. Maybe if you’re white.

A-Ha. Well now you have me. That music certainly sums up… sums up… what does it sum up actually? A-Ha is … timeless. A-Ha is every era.

Racey. See Shakin’ Stevens.

The Beat. Now look, you know that won’t wash, so just try harder.

Elvis Costello. Another guy that thought that Soul was just the thing to usher in the new decade. Christ he was doing country by 1982. The only decent stuff he did was in the 70’s. Don’t dish up any more 70’s acts here – I want “80s”.

Bucks Fizz. There you go! Now you’re kicking! Formed 1981 and ABBA with an exciting new stage ABBA routine which pushed ABBA the bounds of ABBA ABBA Eurovision ABBA bus crash ABBA.

ABBA. See Bucks Fizz.

Prince. See Shakin’ Stevens. C’mon.

Depeche Mode. Hot Butter, 1972. OK that was cruel, even for me. But let’s be serious here – early Mode is 60’s bubblegum, and I don’t think the band would have minded that comparison. They got more symphonic over the decade and eventually became a Harvest band. Which is a band that should naturally be on EMI’s Harvest label – basically Prog Rock: Pink Floyd, Mike Oldfield, Kevin Ayers… and Art Punk bands – Wire, The Saints et al. Depeche Mode is part of a long tradition of UK bands that have something to do with Stonehenge.

New Order. Are we talking New Order as in ‘make dull rock albums’ New Order – or as in ‘have some DJ try and salvage a decent 12 inch out this cack’ New Order? The former could have been from any time over three decades – nondescript is nondescript. The twelve inches however are a tribute to Super Gay DJ Technology. But SGDJT can take anything and make it sound like an Amyl rush. I’m prepared to concede ground here – if you think that the ability to transform an armpit fart into heaven is ’80’s music’ I’ll agree, so long as you realise you’re solving one question with another.

Madonna. Where Super Gay DJ Technology spills out of the beaker and creates an imitation of life. A new horror film: The dug up corpse of Debbie Harry is animated by a lightening bolt, pretends to be Marylin Monroe and having failed adopts the guise of Mistress of the Hounds complete with fake British accent. Dr Who discovers an alien mechanism under the Atlantic and pulling the lever, causes this Golem to dissolve into anti matter. {SLAP} Sorry I’ll behave. Madonna was written by Stephen Bray and produced by Nile Rodgers, who being the guitarist from Chic probably remembered how to do that funky 70s stuff.

The Stone Roses. That’s not a band that’s one funky drummer loop.

Happy Mondays. http://www.learnhistory.org.uk/football/

Japan. Oh yes. So cultured. Bet you have never seen the cover of their first 7 inch single, the one with drawing of the goat in high heels. From behind. No I am not kidding. Anyway as befits a group formed in 1974, we love Bowie long time. Please no more 70’s groups.

Culture Club. Along with UB40, see The Police. The soft core limp version.

Supertramp. Beige carpet and sideburns. No.

Billy Joel. It’s Still Rock N Roll to Me.

Lionel Richie. Hello?

Guns n Roses. Nothing quite conjures up the decade like Slash. Or Guitar Hero for the XBox 360.

Run DMC with Aerosmith. That’s it – you beat me. Run DMC with Aerosmith is the eighties. I’ll buy the next round.