When rock stars grow old

One of the many splendours of Sky + is the way in which it invites you to record even the most minimal and insignificant fluff, just because it’s no effort at all. For me, the clearest example of this is the Channel 4 tendency to show exclusive first plays of new music videos at some time around midnight. Can I be arsed making sure I’m watching the telly for that precise five minute window? No. But give me the chance to press a button, forget all about it and then come back to it another time, and I’m in!

Last night, Channel 4 played out the new video from Morrissey, for ”I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris‘. This morning, feeling a bit fluey and equipped with a strong cup of tea and some Nurofen, I settled down to flick through the telly. As I watched this particular video, I could only think of one thing. Doesn’t Morrissey look old? Let’s be absolutely fair to the chap – he is actually getting on a bit. It’s not like he looked 25 last week and now he looks like he’s smoked Amy Winehouse, but he just seems to actually be looking his age or even a little older.

It’s no great surprise, people get older after all, but my first proper exposure to Moz was his Nineties Britpop incarnation and he was still rather spritely then. Even his most recent albums were supported by performances that suggested a man full of energy, passion and natural charm.

Watch this and see if any of that is still there now:

See? I’m not imagining it, am I? Now, I should confess that the reason why I’m so struck by his aging appearance is entirely selfish. I can’t help thinking that time must have seriously moved along if ‘my’ generation of indie legends are starting to look a little rough around the edges. Noel‘s greying, Supergrass have the sideburns of a randy farmer who, in times of loneliness, has been eyeing up the goats and Moz looks like he’s been cryogenically frozen and is now being operated by strings. I’m getting ever nearer to dropping out of the traditional ‘new music’ demographic and it feels odd. Of course, there are self-imposed boundaries that don’t exist in the real world, but it still feels a bit strange to look at the figureheads of my youth and find them appearing more than a little lived in. Still, doing an impression of a Weeble trying to seduce a small dog is nothing compared to this silly old tart.

As for the song, it’s quite good actually. It’s Morrissey-by-numbers, but after ‘Ringleader Of The Tormentors’, which was about as much fun as an aneurysm, I’ll happily take that. After all, that’s what made us all like ‘You Are The Quarry’ so much, wasn’t it?

***

As this blog is actually called Vinyl Junkies, I should take this moment to point you in the direction of your nearest Zavvi. They’re currently flogging all of their vinyl at half price. Provided your local shop had a reasonable range prior to their administration issues, they should have plenty for you to pick up at rather splendid prices. Ok, they’re not exactly giving them away, but anyone used to buying plenty of vinyl is used to fairly robust pricing, so getting it at half price is quite a big deal. I’m quite happy to tell you this as I’ve already cleared out the two stores nearest to me! Get there while you can.

This is, of course, the precursor to a potential repeat of the recent insanity found in Woolworths stores, as stock was cleared prior to closure. Nobody’s saying anything about how secure Zavvi’s future is right now, but it’s hard to imagine any single buyer coming in and keeping the chain as it is now. While I picked up a fair old number of CDs and DVDs in the Woolies clearout, it was a rather depressing affair. Plenty has been said in the media about the demise of this much-loved chain, but anyone who loves music has their own precise memories of the Woolworths music section and it still seems odd that it’s not there now. I was in one store a few hours before it closed and it was very odd. Imagine that Britain is at war, everything – even pick’n’mix and large plastic replicas of minor characters from Doctor Who – has been rationed. Sprinkle in some paranoia and desperation and that’s a little bit like how it felt. Still, cheap CDs, eh?

***

And finally, it’s been such a long time since I posted here that I never did anything about albums of the year for 2008, so I’m just going to re-post the list that I submitted to the end-of-year lists on the various music sites I frequent.

1. Elbow – ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’
2. Laura Marling – ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’
3. Tindersticks – ‘The Hungry Saw’
4. Joan As Police Woman – ‘To Survive’
5. Pete Molinari – ‘A Virtual Landslide’
6. Bon Iver – ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’
7. Portishead – ‘Third’
8. Malcolm Middleton – ‘Sleight Of Heart’
9. She & Him – ‘Volume 1’
10. Paul Weller – ’22 Dreams’
11. Our Broken Garden – ‘When Your Blackening Shows’
12. Helios – ‘Caesura’
13. James Yorkston – ‘When The Haar Rolls In’
14. The Last Shadow Puppets – ‘The Age Of Understatement’
15. Jamie Lidell – ‘Jim’
16. Fleet Foxes – ‘Fleet Foxes’
17. Elvis Costello & The Imposters – ‘Momofuku’
18. Calexico – ‘Carried To Dust’
19. Glow – ‘I, Yeah!’
20. Ladyhawke – ‘Ladyhawke’

Honourable mentions to: Beck, Nick Cave, Jenny Lewis, The Dears, R.E.M., Max Richter, and Ray LaMontagne

Even looking at it now, I’m fairly certain I’d shuffle a few of them round, but it’s a moment in time and nobody really cares anyway, so that’ll do. Feel free to post your own via the comments section, should you be that way inclined.

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