In this week’s human interest story, the readers of What’s the Scene – who do an excellent gig guide, as it happens – have just voted in their “best” (Indian, obviously) bands for 2011; the roll call for this hall of shame is as follows: Avial, Bhayanak Maut, Demonic Resurrection, Devoid(India), Indian Ocean, Inner Sanctum, Kryptos, Motherjane, Parikrama, Scribe, Soulmate and Undying Inc. What they were thinking when they did this, I can’t imagine, but now we’re stuck with it. As if this wasteland wasn’t bad enough as it is, now the plebs have to go and clamour for more Parikrama.
Not only is this list some sort of a Madame Tussaud’s of appalling band names, not a single group on it has anything going for them apart from being “local”, the lone exception being Womad soundalikes Indian Ocean, and that’s a whole other world anyway. This can only mean one of two things: either the crowds here are genuinely unable to tell unimaginative, outdated bloat from real spark, an option too painful to contemplate, or they’re in that particular kind of denial that you’ll always find in small, unimportant scenes: where simply being from this country and being together enough to plug guitar into amp automatically earns a group the right to not be laughed out of town.
Call in the shrinks, ladies and gentlemen, here’s an entire nation suffering from the Stockholm syndrome.
Here’s the scenario. You’re a reasonably intelligent person. You don’t walk into lampposts or wet the bed. You own records by the Rolling Stones or Oasis or whoever, you broadly hold that Bob Dylan’s probably more talented than Duffy; you can, push come to shove, justify this without foaming at the mouth and keeling over from the effort. In short, you’re a normal listener capable of a modicum of critical thinking. And yet, given the opportunity, you nominate something called Kryptos – for fuck’s sake – for a best band poll.
And the glaring hypocrisy of this doesn’t strike you as being a problem.
Are you lot so desperate to have your own “scene” that you’ll lower all standards and let any and every dickhead through, no matter how hopeless? And pretend, by making lists and publishing boring interviews with boring people and being too drunk to tell good from bad at gigs, till you begin to really believe, that these hacks are worth their space on stage and on record?
This is – and I truly believe this – a pivotal time for Indian pop. We have, for the very first time, a sudden springing up of cool little groups who are peddling a musical ethos which includes such forgotten – in these backwaters – concepts as sharpness, class and imagination-over-technique. These groups are struggling to be heard amidst the honking and clatter of a quarter century of head-up-arse, clueless, inbred scenism.
If you think that that WTS roster is all there is to this country, you’re very, very much mistaken. It’s self-propagating lists like that which not only give the entirely wrong impression of what this country does when nobody’s looking, but also smother the chances of all the kids in bedrooms who don’t fall for this rubbish and aspire to better things than being self-important, boneheaded big-fish-in-small-pond “rockstars”.
That list is a disgrace. Hang your heads, you cunts.
D.O. N.O.T. L.I.S.T.E.N. T.O. S.H.I.T. M.U.S.I.C.