According to AgonyShorthand — a name which makes you wonder just what sort of pain he’s in, exactly — “it (roots reggae) was the product of a remote, class-oriented subculture, with a small network of cool indie or semi-independent labels, and because it was bearing a distinct outlaw drugs/guns/political outsider vibe. That package doesnt hold a whole lot of cachet any longer (the world is ever more connected; class matters in music less than it ever did; indies are a dime a dozen, and I think weve all been about outlawed to death).”
I wonder what obscure corner of the world this guy lives in where class doesn’t matter any more. Finland? Tonga? The Seychelles? Funnily enough, lots of poeple who like reggae appreciate how it articulates class issues in a beautiful, emotional way. Saying that class matters less in music than it ever did soulds like the product of a white rock fan who got into punk and got confused by everything since, cos the amount of class-specific content in, hmmm, let’s think, what about DANCE MUSIC is enormous. In fact you can still characterise the music industry’s output inb class terms very neatly. I’m not saying that working class automatically equals genius — contrast Vanilla Ice with Ice Cube — but to say class is no longer relevant is both short sighted and inherently conservative.
Agony boy then proceeds to soil himself in public (and I don’t mean that in a kindly, taking-the-piss-out-of-friend kind of way like I did with Matt TWANBOC) by saying “People, myself included, knew there were some kernels of genius in reggae somewhere, we just needed to look past Marley, Tosh, Black Uhuru, Steel Pulse and god forbid, Eek-a-Mouse to find it.” ‘kin ‘ell. What a knobber. Who wants to listen to all these large black men saying something meaningful about how fucked up the world got because of — who was it again? Oh yeah. White people. The ones in charge. Funny that. Oh, and god forbid if they use a squeeky voice and a load of humour to take the piss out of the oppressor — shit at least with Tosh you can tell what he’s talking about, most of the time. Eek-a-mouse isn’t even speaking English!
“To me, THATS what the surge of appreciation for pre-70s reggae roots and for dub is mostly about. Its really about the music now, and all the politics and the glory of Haile Sellasie and the get up/stand up nature of the rest of it is pure window dressing for the good stuff.”
Oh yeah. Meaning? Truth? Politics? Oh, that’s just soooo 80s, man! I only like music that’s had all that nasty politics sieved out of it. It’s so much more digestible when it’s all about love songs, or there’s no vocal left at all.
What a load of cobblers. It’s like punk never happened. Coming from someone who talks about PUNK all the time. Well, quelle surprise — the old (white) punks get as conservative as the (white) MOR bands and can’t bear to have their (white) noise polluted by anything political or emotional.
So, he doesn’t like reggae with any black voices in it, or, at least, with any black experience in it. He does, however, like old-style country music from the deep south. You do the math.