100 Years Of Solitude

“No solutions built to last
Just your petty scores to settle fast
The N.M.E meant nothing to you
And the Maker, well the maker of who?
Your walkman generation
In search of sweet sedation
While forests choke under a ‘lever sky
And the Exxon birds will never fly”

From “100 Years of Solitude” by The Levellers.

I came across this quote in the book I am presently reading. 

“Music carries immeasurable commercial clout and export potential, but for a more objective overview it’s clearer to treat it, as publishing houses do, as a special interest or hobby, no different from trout fishing, canary breeding or period homes.  As such, the NME and its subsequent glossy spin-offs, Smash Hits, Q, Mojo, Word,et al., are specialist publications, there not to serve record buyers, but record enthusiasts.

The fact that pop music provides a culture that permeates every corner of our lives and lifestyles, defines generations and soundtracks revolutions, should not distract from the fact that reading about rock is a big step on from listening to it.  You can like pop music; you can love pop music; and you can join the vast, paying consensus who send singles and albums up and down the charts every weekend, without once being moved to pick up and read a weekly music paper.  Those who do, and do so like addicts after a regular fix, are the anal retentives, the list-makers, the trainspotters, the chart-memorisers, the vinyl junkies, the fanclub-joiners, the catalogue completists, the record collectors, the indie saddoes…a publisher’s dream.  And there are an awful lot of them about.  Some of them form bands and become famous.  Some of them get jobs in record companies or at the publications themselves.  Others grow out of it.  But there is an elementary distinction that separates the Billys and the Wiggys from the rest of the population: you either listen to music, or else you read the sleeve while you’re listening to it”

Which are you?

Has it shaped your world view?

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4 Responses to “100 Years Of Solitude”


  1. 1 exactscience November 3, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Very well put. That is all

  2. 2 Laura Anne November 3, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    I do both. I think I listen to music, but I like to buy the CD and look at the inside cover because it gives a little hint about where the music came from. Who did they thank, who wrote what, the little messages you sometimes find.

    For me it’s all part of it.

    Music is an expression of someone’s life.

  3. 3 Scott November 4, 2008 at 3:18 am

    Reading the NME has not once dramatically increased my appreciation of any piece of music. Made me more informed but that is an incidental.
    Almost all it is good for to me is inspirations. Green Day drawing their sound from the Clash and Stiff Little Fingers, so liking Green Day and the Clash I’ll pick up a SLF record.
    But more generally it is friends who improve my music life. Comments like ‘you like that? You’ll love this’ or ‘you can’t say you love x until you’ve heard y’.
    I read NME for three years straight- I love it for turning me on to new things but I have new, better ways to do that through
    friends, blogs and podcasts.
    S

  4. 4 thestatethatiamin November 7, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    The truth is that it is a long time since I regularly bought any magazines. I tend to just check websites for info these days. That sometimes means I don’t find artists or bands that I may have done otherwise.

    I download some music, but I like having the real deal – the packaging, the artwork, the lyric sheets, the liner notes. I thought CDs were a step backwards from vinyl on that front and electronic download booklets for music just don’t seem the same. That said, environmentally maybe I ought to make the change…


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"The priest in the booth had a photographic memory for all he had heard. He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called "The State That I'm In"". From "The State I Am In" by Belle and Sebastian
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