The Mod Father – A Lesson In “Keeping It Real” – November 2012
Now firstly I must declare an interest, what follows is far from un-biased, you should know staright off that I hate Paul Weller; I think he’s a fucking bell end. I hate the music, from The Jam, to the Style Council, to Stanley Road, Broken Stones and his latest incarnation as some Syd Barrettesque psychmanofthepeople with his cod State of the Nation addresses; I hate the style, the myth and the legacy.
His music, to my ears, is abysmal; You Do Something to Me is by far and away one of the worst songs ever written. All the “classic” Weller from Town Called Malice to Wild Wood, and onwards is all cack. The Jam catalogue is music that has lost all of its potency over the years; it wears the metaphoroical Ben Sherman shirt, has a bit of a paunch and is thinning on top. David Cameron, rather missing the point again declared Eton Rifles one of his favourite songs – the irony wasn’t lost but no one really cared.
Putting his own music aside for a moment, we can see that he is responsible for all that is turgid and dull in British music over the past 30 years. That influence can be heard in the Stone Roses, a band whose myth and legend far outweighs any of its actual recorded music, a half decent first album followed by a grandiose, rambling and eye wateringly boring second but who’s come back this year would have eclipsed the combined forces of Jesus and King Arthur if they had happened to appear over the weekend of their Heaton Park gigs. In fact they may well have both been there but our national media was too busy fawning over the third coming of the Roses, and feeling wistful about the first time they ever dropped an E that it collectively missed Jesus & Arthur who were both somewhere near the back wondering what all the fuss was about.
Weller is responsible for Oasis and all of Noel Gallagher’s solo output. Now don’t get me wrong as a man I quite like Noel Gallagher, he comes across as witty and charming and has a way with a put down, but apart from a handful of moments (Slide Away, The Masterplan, Rockin’ Chair, Whatever, Live Forever etc.) his music is on the whole rather pedestrian. Weller is responsible for a whole host of other dreadful Britpop artists, Ocean Colour Scene et al. the Blur songs and albums that everyone likes but I detest – the stuff before Albarn went to mong out in Africa and they started to be interesting – all the Parklife, Girls & Boys, boozey geezer wankery. Weller is directly responsible for crimes like Kasabian, Hard-Fi, The Rifles and The Enemy (I had to consult Wikipedia for the last few as I’d managed to consciously forget that these acts ever existed).
So the music is rubbish and so is the whole Mod Father shtick, the middle aged “lad” look, the Fred Perry shirts, that stupid haircut sported by men of a certain age (Liam Gallagher, Bradley Wiggins), the designer jeans, parkas and Clarks originals, the fucking Vespa’s – it’s just more fucking nostalgia, men playing out some Quadraphoniaesque fantasy in their heads – don’t they realise that Carnaby Street is now a joke? That their sacred ground has been cleaned up and sold to Puma, Hugo Boss and every other corporate clothes retailer? And to top it all, there on the corner of Neal Street stands Pretty Green, Liam Gallagher’s Mod dressing up box. That is what the dream has been reduced to – a fucking pastiche.
And so to today, Weller, the man of the people, is taking a fuck load of cash from Volkswagen (car of the people) to bosh out a few numbers and hopefully sell a car or two. Their marketing team are probably smarter than you think because nothing says middle of the road, mid-life crisis better than a Golf GTI (with a decent stereo to listen to Stanley Road, enough seats for all the family and a good NCAP safety rating).
It is music for men who like Weller have long ago forgotten their dreams and ideals, who still vote Labour because they feel they should but who happily send their kids to the local public school (that’s what Weller does), men who still go to the pub on a Saturday with the lads, whose only rebellious outlet is a crafty Marlborough Light when their missus isn’t watching. It is for the men, once angry in their youth at the government and the “system” who have grown older and become the staid and boring wankers that they so deplored.