Do you agree with Reynolds?
― nakhchivan, Saturday, 4 September 2010 19:16 (2 years ago) Permalink
don't answer mayne, it's a trap.
― a cankle of rads (Gukbe), Saturday, 4 September 2010 19:18 (2 years ago) Permalink
― mc banhammer (Pashmina), Saturday, 4 September 2010 19:21 (2 years ago) Permalink
on the specific terrain of british song-based pop music of the post-war era... sure, up to a point. he's definitely on to something.
idk, though, the classic (stereotypical but basically true ime) thing about the lower middle class is fear of 'falling', hence excessive attention to status. so i dunno if we really need this 'liminal' thing. it's just that artists tend to be particularly sensitive people, and don't feel at home anywhere -- they're bound to feel liminal, whatever class they come from.
either way, there's lots of good music from the same time and place that is good and which was not produced by these liminal types.
― i am legernd (history mayne), Saturday, 4 September 2010 19:23 (2 years ago) Permalink
*sensitive [not necessarily wrt other people]
― i am legernd (history mayne), Saturday, 4 September 2010 19:27 (2 years ago) Permalink
My favourite version from my favourite Glastonbury of that decade:
― piscesx, Saturday, 4 September 2010 20:01 (2 years ago) Permalink
― i am legernd (history mayne), Saturday, 4 September 2010 20:23 (48 minutes ago)
That seems about right. It makes sense for the kinda postwar settlement period where people from that background began going to university. They would have seen a lot of the world in their formative years, and probably felt a lot of anxiety about their place in it.
Reynolds also seems to think that a lot of yr faceless techno ppl are from downscale suburban places in outer London and carry on the tradition into his 'Nuum'. No 'Strawberry Fields' from that lot though.
― nakhchivan, Saturday, 4 September 2010 20:23 (2 years ago) Permalink
JC definitely doesn't *dislike* this girl in the song by the way. At one point in the 2005 BBC documentary all about Common People he/ the beeb went so far as to actually try tracking her down. He was shown a variety of photos back at St Martin's by one of his lecturers from the time he was there but said he couldn't quite place her face after all those years. That doc was great, it used to be on You Tube but isn't currently.
It's interesting how well Pulp got on with both Oasis and Blur in the britpop era. Noel was keen to big up Jarvis every chance he got, Pulp supported Oasis at their first big arena show (in Sheffield, 95), toured with Blur too etc. They were just about the only common ground between the 2 bands back then; they both loved Jarvis/Pulp!
Funny how"Rum n Coca Cola" never caught on again in the Britpop era like Supersonic's "Gin n Tonic" did.
― piscesx, Saturday, 4 September 2010 20:33 (2 years ago) Permalink
What class do you reckon SReynolds comes from, in order to find that "liminal class" art so clearly and obviously the most superior?
― cymose corymb (Karen D. Tregaskin), Saturday, 4 September 2010 20:43 (2 years ago) Permalink
It's interesting how well Pulp got on with both Oasis and Blur in the britpop era.
That's not what I heard, necessarily........
― Mark G, Saturday, 4 September 2010 20:44 (2 years ago) Permalink
Ha I was thinking that xp. Probably middle class (as in B1 in yr consumer research schema iirc). Not liminal. Or subliminal. Possibly postliminal.
― nakhchivan, Saturday, 4 September 2010 20:46 (2 years ago) Permalink
is he saying it created superior music? i always thought the argument was that, during certain socio-economic situations, that liminal class created a wide variety of interesting or pioneering music.
― a cankle of rads (Gukbe), Saturday, 4 September 2010 20:58 (2 years ago) Permalink
That's more or less the same thing in this case isn't it?
― nakhchivan, Saturday, 4 September 2010 21:57 (2 years ago) Permalink
doesn't necessarily make it better than everything else does it?
― a cankle of rads (Gukbe), Saturday, 4 September 2010 22:05 (2 years ago) Permalink
LOL at 'postliminal' - Simon's class background is complicated, but I'd be speaking out of turn if I discussed it in detail.
Having been a scholarship kid at a posh art college in the '80s, I can identify with Jarvis (and his narrator in the song). If he were American, Jarvis would probably have qualified for all the help I got. You do feel, occasionally and quite rationally, that you're just 'material' for some privileged person's four-year dérive, that it is easy to romanticize poverty when your experience of it is second-hand at best, particularly if you are so rich that your laundry is always done by a service, your food shopping is always done by your parents' housekeeper, and that no disparaging comment you could make about this situation could be too mean, or considered bullying, because a look at the bigger picture demands an examination of the power balance as it really is. I also know that the middle-class person indulging in karaoke poshness also exists, like Lex and Kate say, but I am wary of privileged people whining about class war because it's only called that when poorer people complain about the rich - otherwise, like Warren Buffet says, it's business as usual.
From my own observation, I've noticed it's much easier for an ambitious working-class man with 'sophisticated' taste who has made it to art college or Oxbridge to assimilate than it would be for a woman, who can be sidelined by petty snobbery from posh girls who have no problem with people they fancy, but make no pretense at egalitarianism when dealing with other women. I also know that I have never been chastised for under-appreciating my privilege by someone less privileged than me.
― maintenant avec plus de fromage (suzy), Saturday, 4 September 2010 22:06 (2 years ago) Permalink
you went to Sarah Lawrence, suzy, is that right?
― sarahel, Saturday, 4 September 2010 22:12 (2 years ago) Permalink
― a cankle of rads (Gukbe), Saturday, 4 September 2010 23:05 (5 minutes ago)
No but these liminal fucks get a sampler and a cheap syth and ~think~ they're better. Airs and graces like they own the fucking shop.
― nakhchivan, Saturday, 4 September 2010 22:15 (2 years ago) Permalink
― Mark G, Saturday, 4 September 2010 22:17 (2 years ago) Permalink
Yes, sarahel - on a full scholarship. My mom thought it was hilarious to point out to people that me and my friend C, who grew up skint on a reservation near Hibbing because her mother married a Native American, were the poorest kids in the college (not true, BTW). I mean, I know there's a big difference between me and someone who grew up in a housing project, but my single-parent mom with no college degree was not pinching pennies because she thought it was something fun to do.
― maintenant avec plus de fromage (suzy), Saturday, 4 September 2010 22:31 (2 years ago) Permalink
JC's order for "rum n coca cola" alludes to calypso tune also about tourism, imperialism, etc: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rum_and_Coca-Cola
― David Allah Coal (sexyDancer), Saturday, 4 September 2010 22:33 (2 years ago) Permalink
xp - yeah, Sarah Lawrence had a serious rich kid snob factor reputation from what i remember - i had this sense that it was kinda like the characters in that movie Metropolitan, which i found fascinating, but didn't want to live in that world
― sarahel, Saturday, 4 September 2010 22:51 (2 years ago) Permalink
What really bothered me is how class was reinforced there, and how those reinforcements were communicated. My experience in high school was pretty egalitarian, in that class was not a determinant in my friendship choices in the same way that shared interests and aesthetic appreciation and of my friends in school who were rich, their parents tended towards making them get jobs to learn the value of money and against things like country clubs. We did have snotty rich kids, but in school and in the Midwest generally, grades and thrift shopping can successfully compete with that, along with the consolation that you're dealing with big fish/small pond types and the situation isn't necessarily 'forever'. But at a place like Sarah Lawrence, the names sound familiar for a reason, because you're surrounded by people with real connections to history, culture, media and celebrity - the initial feeling is OHHHHH SHIIIIIT because, of course, it must never be discussed and it's all anyone can gossip about.
Things that gave me pause were the questions that people from a more stratified background than mine don't even have to ask, such as 'why can't we invite the cleaner to our hall party?' (the answer, 'insurance', was only half the answer IMO) and a sense that it was easier for kids from the projects, or kids of colour, to connect with the trust-funders because the trust-funders could earn congratulations (self-generated or otherwise) for that friendship, whereas the working-to-lower-middles (straight white kids from public schools with regional accents) were kind of seen as unsophisticated and not worth knowing (sometimes by me, but someone with a frizz perm and Van Halen records from my own socioeconomic background - whose family probably had more money than mine - was not my kind of people before I got there).
― maintenant avec plus de fromage (suzy), Saturday, 4 September 2010 23:36 (2 years ago) Permalink
And that is perhaps my biggest problem with the narrator of this song is, he seems to be trapped by his own resentments (even as he *has* the possibility represented by art school and tertiary education) - *way* more so than he is trapped by some clueless girl who wants to sleep with him. And yet he takes it out in this ever more shrill and hysterical fashion *on* this girl.
I've read this whole thread and just wanted to go back to this because for me this song has never really been about the girl at all, it definitely reads like the narrator-as-Jarvis projecting/laying out his own confused feelings about weatlh/privilege/identity (not so much class I don't think) - the greek girl exists in the song as a sort of jump-off point for an extended rant. I mean you never get any sense of where the encounter goes or where the girl's attitude leads - ok it *starts* in the supermarket but what then? It always struck me as odd that it starts off as a story-type song then goes off on this tangent. This could well be intentional on Jarvis' part, the first verse could be a red herring - in which case it's quite a clever way to go about it; however if he actually was hoping to merely put forward a convincing case for 'Rich people slumming it are bad' then I think the song fails.
― Gavin in Leeds, Sunday, 5 September 2010 08:35 (2 years ago) Permalink
I agree with this - the primary conflict in the song is the kind of love-hate civil class war among the two visions of the working class, into the middle of which steps the clueless rich girl who doesn't even see that there's a difference. Nothing more annoying than someone ignorant telling you what you're like, and not only getting it wrong but telling you you're the same as your bitterest enemy. One can imagine how irritating locals must find it when everyone's got a glib view on Israel or Northern Ireland or wherever.
― Ismael Klata, Sunday, 5 September 2010 08:54 (2 years ago) Permalink
Nothing more annoying than someone ignorant telling you what you're like, and not only getting it wrong but telling you you're the same as your bitterest enemy.
Ha ha, trust me, I know what this is like - it's happened quite a few times directed at me on this thread and the other one.
And yeah, it is just a weird song, the way it starts as a story and ends as a rant and I don't know that those two halves hang together particularly well.
― cymose corymb (Karen D. Tregaskin), Sunday, 5 September 2010 08:58 (2 years ago) Permalink
this is probably here nor there at this point, but the british class system isn't some impenetrable mystery that the r.o.w. will never understand. it's not really that complicated.
― goole, Sunday, 5 September 2010 09:27 (2 years ago) Permalink
Never underestimate the American ability to completely fail to understand other countries' cultures.
(You could really substitute most any country for "American" there, but given the low possession of passports by the citizens there, and the high American presence on this board, it seemed the most fitting example.)
― cymose corymb (Karen D. Tregaskin), Sunday, 5 September 2010 09:32 (2 years ago) Permalink
hey if a rich greek girl can learn and grow, someone not from the UK can figure out how status works there.
― goole, Sunday, 5 September 2010 09:39 (2 years ago) Permalink
im p sure they have poor people in greece
― i am legernd (history mayne), Saturday, September 4, 2010 9:00 AM (Yesterday) Bookmark
^^ good one
― goole, Sunday, 5 September 2010 09:40 (2 years ago) Permalink
i should probably note that my experience of this song at the time was as one of the most popular songs among boys in my school (and totally lumped in with oasis, blur, all the rest). yup, public schoolboys singing along to these lyrics as if it was their anthem. sooooo wrong. and that's partly why i find this song's ~outcast anthem~ status so laughable, because IRL it didn't work like that at all - this, and britpop generally, was the dominant aesthetic at my school, what you were expected to be into, and you were considered a weirdo if you deviated from it.
― لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Sunday, 5 September 2010 09:46 (2 years ago) Permalink
'Rum and coca cola' is a nice touch, I hadn't heard of that before
― Ismael Klata, Sunday, 5 September 2010 09:50 (2 years ago) Permalink
can't imagine being shunned at school for what music you did or didn't like. thought that kind of thing only happened in john hughes movies.
― ledge, Sunday, 5 September 2010 09:51 (2 years ago) Permalink
And Jarvis is probably clever enough to know exactly what he was referring to. xpost
Public schoolboys singing along to Common People is just like Republicans' relationship with Born In The USA, but I can totally understand not liking something because it has stupid fans - and I can well imagine Lex's fellow students not being into Li'l Kim, etc.
― maintenant avec plus de fromage (suzy), Sunday, 5 September 2010 09:55 (2 years ago) Permalink
of course i didn't get shunned, it wasn't even that horrible - just things like other dudes acting like listening to tlc/erykah badu/tori amos/suzanne vega = "terrible taste", or battles over the common room stereo. i can't imagine anyone doesn't know about how teenagers pressure each other to conform aesthetically!
― لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Sunday, 5 September 2010 09:57 (2 years ago) Permalink
i can't imagine anyone doesn't know about how teenagers pressure each other to conform aesthetically!
Yeah, this is, actually, to me is way more o_0 what universe do you come from than, say, not knowing who John Wayne or Pavement are. ;-)
― cymose corymb (Karen D. Tregaskin), Sunday, 5 September 2010 09:59 (2 years ago) Permalink
i mean isn't that the premise on which cocker casts himself as an outsider? the weirdo who dresses differently, likes reading, likes different music, to everyone else around him? it was a bit like that, except it was his music that everyone else around me liked. (i didn't dress particularly differently to everyone else, though.)
― لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Sunday, 5 September 2010 10:00 (2 years ago) Permalink
and 'Rum and Coca Cola' was appropriated by its targets as well
― Ismael Klata, Sunday, 5 September 2010 10:00 (2 years ago) Permalink
Much touched upon upthread, but I think Cocker's own class discomfort is crucial to the song. In a retrospective for the 25th anniversary of the miners' strike a little while back, he was one of the talking heads, and he explained that he absolutely didn't support the miners at the time. After all, they were the people who out in Sheffield on a Saturday night would rain misery down on people like him, for not being proper working class lads with the appropriate interests in beer and pool and screwing. Common People is like the response of someone from an ugly town - you know it's awful, but it really pisses you off when someone from somewhere nice stats going on about how awful it was when they visited for a day.
― ithappens, Sunday, 5 September 2010 10:01 (2 years ago) Permalink
i can't imagine anyone doesn't know about how teenagers pressure each other to conform aesthetically!
sure there were different groups with different tastes, and maybe i've got some rose tinted memory specs on, but i don't really recall any kind of aesthetic pressure, no worse than you get on ilm anyway (sure you get heated discussions here but i don't really feel any *pressure*). ok there was that one time i was embarrassed to admit i liked a bros song.
― ledge, Sunday, 5 September 2010 10:06 (2 years ago) Permalink
maybe it was a different kind of school, or maybe if you actually liked the stuff that everyone else liked you wouldn't have noticed it
― لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Sunday, 5 September 2010 10:11 (2 years ago) Permalink
Good call on "rum and coca-cola"; despite being vaguely familiar with the song of that name (though I wasn't in '95) I'd never put 2+2 together, but I had sometimes wondered why the "in that case"
― vampire headphase (a passing spacecadet), Sunday, 5 September 2010 10:43 (2 years ago) Permalink
I love this thread, particuarly the Rum and Coca-Cola connection, the miners strike fact and the phrase "fractious autodidacticism". This is one of my favourite songs of the 90s and this thread makes me feel like I'd only skimmed the surface.
― Haunted Clocks For Sale (Dorianlynskey), Sunday, 5 September 2010 11:59 (2 years ago) Permalink
(there's a huge wall, I think, between the kind of school where pressure to conform aesthetically took the form of physically hitting you and where it didn't - people act like these are the same thing but they 100% aren't)
― Gravel Puzzleworth, Sunday, 5 September 2010 11:59 (2 years ago) Permalink
That's a good post, ithappens, and informative!
― Gravel Puzzleworth, Sunday, 5 September 2010 12:01 (2 years ago) Permalink
I was at high school a few years earlier than Lex, '87-94, and it was definitely not the usual thing to be into indie or proto-Britpop at that time - most of the kids were into Guns'n'Roses/Aerosmith/hair metal or U2/INXS/Queen. I didn't get much shit for liking indie though, that was mostly reserved for hip hop or house.
― a fucking stove just fell on my foot. (Colonel Poo), Sunday, 5 September 2010 12:02 (2 years ago) Permalink
high school for me was '93-'00 - it was an oddity in that it was a specialist music school, and once in sixth form the dynamic of the year changed completely, due to lots of musicians (previously a minority group in the year) arriving on scholarships, and the...less academically inclined local farmers' kids leaving. sixth form was really great as far as aesthetic tolerance went tbh. prior to that it was britpop all the way with a smattering of, like, nirvana and pearl jam. don't remember hip-hop getting much play but then i hadn't got into it yet at that point either. i was intro trip-hop, female singer-songwriters and r&b, none of which was considered acceptable to go on the house common room - i remember sneaking into the girls' houses a few times, which was mostly forbidden, just so i could listen to, like, en vogue and madonna with friends. amusingly, that was before i came out.
my most triumphant common room stereo battle was when i put erykah badu's first album on one day, not long after it had come out and BLOWN MY MIND - a group of some of the nastier elements in my house turned up not long after that and the usual hostility ensued. (beating people up wasn't really something that happened in my school, at least not to me, but physical scuffles did, including THROWING MY CD ACROSS THE ROOM. hateful cunts!) anyway there also happened to be some sixth-formers there who i didn't know (rare, sixth-formers didn't use that common room much), one of whom happened to be a musician specialising in jazz piano, ie someone who could actually appreciate good music, and he marched over to the little cunts who were bothering me and literally picked the ringleader up by his collar and told him not to ever fuck with a) me b) erykah badu ever again. then he put the cd back in, turned the volume up ten times as loud as it was, and we jammed to this -
― لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Sunday, 5 September 2010 12:44 (2 years ago) Permalink
Starting to understand Jarvis' complicated defending-despite-hating relationship with the working class in regards to my countrymen, what with all the America comments on this thread.
― a cankle of rads (Gukbe), Sunday, 5 September 2010 14:08 (2 years ago) Permalink
I was in high school '83-'87, and something so innocuous as liking Prince or Madonna -- which I did, and at the time when they were like two of the two top four or five artists in the music industry -- was sufficient to get you called "faggot" and threatened with ass-beatings constantly.
― Shock and Awe High School (Phil D.), Sunday, 5 September 2010 14:47 (2 years ago) Permalink
High school was '92-'99 for me and while britpop definitely led to an increase in people listening to indie/guitar type music, it didn't dominate to any extent - maybe it's the sort of school I went to but there was never really any consensus regarding music. For the first couple of years I definitely felt that there were divisions ('moshers' vs. 'ravers' or whatever) but after a while you realised that peoples' tastes were often more complex than you thought. We never had a common room until the sixth form - I never put anything on it but most of the stuff played was decent (notable exception: Ian Brown's solo album).
― Gavin in Leeds, Sunday, 5 September 2010 15:01 (2 years ago) Permalink