Another otiose series of 50-Things-You-Knew-Already in the Guardian and Observer. These terrible lists sound like the prelude to the Rapture: Things to see and do before you die. 1) There’s new life to create – we don’t have to keep looking back except in the sense of reculer pour mieux sauter; 2) we’re not going to die, or at least our civilisation isn’t. Enough of this Twilight of the Gods nonsense. Today, in the Observer, it’s Rock music. Clapton, we are told, created the cult guitar hero, Not a word about the music. Actually, Clapton created the overdriven, vibrato technique that has dominated guitar ever since. He made it a true lead instrument, abolishing at a stroke the feeble, tinny, clangy Chuck Berry sound. Music is not about images and gestures, it is about chords, harmony, timbre, arrangement, motifs, instrumental colour. Almost everything written about popular music ignores the music altogether.
I'm a writer whose interests include the biological revolution happening now, the relationship between art and science, jazz, and the state of the planet