The Loneliest Jukebox

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Obituaries - celebs on slabs

A week of obituaries - Michael Jackson, Karl Malden, Mollie Sugden. The latter prompted a few 'pussy' gags when I saw punk covers band Scam 69 at one of my local pubs the other night. One person who I could imagine running out of patience with permafrost new wave acts is Steven "Seething" Wells, who predeceased the celebrity trio. Most commentators noted the passing of a gonzo journalist who started out as part of the mid-80s fanzine craze; I have uncomfortable memories of arriving late for a gig involving him and Attila the Stockbroker at Loughborough University. I'd battled through snow to get there and due to the layout of the venue had to walk across the stage to get to my seat. "And what time do you call this then?" Wells asked, seething. The diatribe continued long after I was (un)settled.

In a not totally unrelated development to 1980s Thatcher-bashing, I'd noticed a growing role for the media industries in the demands made by demonstrations. The rhetorical question "Whadda we want? Media coverage! When do we wannit? Now" reared its head on a Gulf War demo in Brighton in 1991, and the sentiment has swelled ever since, even as the politics faded away. Twelve hours before this post was written - okay, so I have not quite optimised my use of Twitter yet - I was on a 'Save our Stow' protest (see picture) where the BBC and Sky News were thanked from the platform while local news photographers directed the demonstration into a suitably photogenic shape. It's not my call to knock the campaign's media strategy, but it is interesting that news coverage has come to be seen as increasingly important.

What would Swells make of all this?

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