Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Too old for indie-pop? Is all this nostalgia A Good Thing?

I resent being too early for stuff, and it seems to have happened all the way along. I was born too early for skateboards, and I would have been a fantastic skate girl... or BMX stunt rider... or any of that. I ran a super wee record label in the 1980s and 1990s, using a computer only for typing and printing out my newsletters and tape inlays on a dot matrix printer. I bought those massive sheets of stamps from the post office and even had a PO Box, where I would go to get an elastic-band stodge of letters most days. 

It was truly fun, but how great it must be to make music nowadays with a World Wide Web! Where you can tweet to fans worldwide, and facebook-invite them to secret gigs. That would have been good back in my day. But, like a 19 year old girl trying to learn skateboard for the first time, would it be an embarrassing spectacle to do it all again on YouTube or at some festival, when you are comfortably middle-aged?

The first album 1989 - Little Stones as yet not re-released in digital format

I quite like writing a blog. It's helping me to sort things out in my mind; gradually I'm building a jigsaw puzzle of my life in music - a life in music which I thought ended last century.

If I'd been a bit more successful, I'd be a has-been, but, with a rather insignificant streak of success that runs to a few aging pop-kids in Spain, Japan and the USA, I'm not even a has-been.

For at least ten years, I made no reference to the music I had been involved with. I didn't play the CDs, I never pulled out a guitar to drunkenly strum out 'Sunday Never Comes Around', I kept myself to myself and forgot about the life in music.

But something has changed in the last couple of years. I think it started when somebody told me that there was a lot of stuff on the Internet about my band PO! So, of course, you google yourself and it all starts, doesn't it?  There are Wikipedia articles and strange YouTube videos put together by fans, and people saying back in 2005 that I have disappeared. No. Not disappeared, just tried a bit of ordinary life. It was all right.


That is, it was all right for a bit.

I guess it must be like experiencing some exciting gay encounters in your youth, but deciding to go straight in order to have a family and please your family because you think it will go away and that you can control it. And I've seen people do that for a good few years. Half a lifetime, even.

But you can't forget about it for ever. The Person inside starts knocking loudly and calling "Hello?" and you start to have ideas and urges. I began to watch live performances again, with a mixture of thrill and dread. But now I'm paralysed, not knowing what to do. Is it all just stupid nostalgia and vanity, or do I need to go back to music? Should I try to write and perform songs looking like some middle-aged mumsy? Songs about tennis elbow and parents evenings? I don't think so. I could write the same songs about the same subjects as I always did, because not much has really been achieved on the 'wielding of power and the situations that result from it' front, has it?

 I do still have a massive prejudice that pop music is for young people and that it's greedy to hang on in there once you can actually afford instruments and you know too many of life's secrets. To persuade me, many friends have come up with the names of 'veteran' performers who are eternally young and very respected, but I just don't know.....

Or... and this does seem more attractive... I could forget my real position as wage slave, single parent and coward, and just promote What Has Been.  I could work out how to get my old music officially online and see if anyone today would like it. Is that crass nostalgia? Cashing in on the 7"s in my attic? The songs are good, if you like that sort of thing... but how many people like that sort of thing now? I did work hard on the songs and could say a lot about the life and meaning of each one. I reckon if enough people express an interest here, I could be coaxed further.

I am rather intrigued by the number of people in Romania reading this blog. PO! did have fans all over the world, but I had not thought there were any in Romania; so, say hi please, people. Shall I carry on doodling with the old music in this way, or shall I look for a promotion at work and spend some time getting the shower and the car radio fixed?