Heute freut sich das Popblog, Englands größte Indiepophoffnung, The Indelicates, als Gastschreiber präsentieren zu können. The Indelicates wurden in unserer Jahresvorschau auf 2007 als eine der besten neuen Bands gepriesen, werden ab dem 12. Februar mit ihrer neuen EP „The Last Significant Statement To Be Made In Rock’n’Roll“ erstmals in Deutschland touren (Daten am Ende des Artikels) und im Popblog in der nächsten Woche über ihre ersten Erfahrungen auf deutschen Bühnen berichten.
Aber nun The Indelicates über England, Dandytum, Morrissey, Nationalismus, Romantik und die Aufklärung:
England Is Mine, But I Don’t Want it.
I used to be a poet. Now I try to be a rock star. The connection between these two professions is almost entirely in the sense of embarrassment you encounter when attempting to answer the question: ‘so, what is it you do?’.
I’ve always hated that question – especially from the English who always seem – in fact – to be asking: ‘On what basis should I resent you?’, but I hate it from anyone – because the answers I struggle to come up with are tainted in the mind of the questioner by the stain of Romanticism. Poet, after all, means a willowy tuberculotic ponce who harps on about albion and girls and trees being nice. Rock Star means a willowy drug-addicted ponce who does much the same but with chords.
The reason for this is that both professions fall into a tradition which some gauche academics have seen fit to term ‘Dandyism’. Whether that means anything to you or not, I imagine you’d know it when you saw it. Simply put, it is a way of describing the stylish rebel. Dandies are the ones who don’t fit in but identify themselves as having higher brows than the broad mass of people. Their counterparts – less unifiable under a single term, but including crusties, grime MCs and some hippies – do the opposite, glorifying the lowness of their brows and revelling in being an underclass. Most major non-mainstream movements fit into one of these traditions. Mods are dandies, Rockers are not; Goths are Dandies, Ravers aren’t; Emo kids are Dandies, Chavs ain’t. See?
My problem, in being by temperament of the Dandies’ party (while remaining a fan of the others), is that I think the Dandy tradition has schismed. And it has done so along faultlines that go all the way back to the beginning of the nineteenth century and the activities of a bunch of poets and philosophers who took over, and arguably ruined, poetry and philosophy. Again, you might not give a flying fuck about the nineteenth century, but you’d know them if you saw them – they’re the poets you’ve heard of: Wordsworth, Keats, Blake, those ones.
At the time, the big thing in dandyism had been the Enlightenment – a period where Reason, that is the application of logical thought to the problems of the world, had been exalted and hailed as the main source of human advancement. It championed Individual Liberty, Science, Intelligence and other things that Socialists and the Religious are suspicious of. Unfortunately, having not had enough time to do away with them, the enlightenment also had a habit of propping up unpleasant things like elitism and patriarchy. The romantics emerged as a vague reaction. They objected to what they saw as an excessive rationalisation of nature and humanity and instead championed Emotion, Folk Tradition and the Sublime. It is from Romantics that we get the willowy tuberculotic ponce archetype. It is also from them that we get most of our modern ideas about nationalism – and this was where the trouble started.
In the intervening centuries, there’s been a lot of history, about which I feel less entitled to comment as a wannabe rockstar than I did as a poet, but which has included some really nasty romantic nationalism from Napoleons and Hitlers and Victorias. By any route, it ends now with Rock’n’Roll dandyism personified by romantics. We’re so used to shallowly accepting the willowy ponce archetype without analyzing him that we don’t notice what the content of his poetry is. But when you hear a rock star singing about albion and promised lands and William Blake and England – you should remember that what you are hearing is nationalism: a Romantic philosophy that rejects reason as a basis for intellectual pursuit and which prefers the fictionalised elevation of ancient races to that of Individual Liberty.
These are the Dandy we’re saddled with now, but there exists another sort – Rational Dandies who refuse to privilege emotion above reason; who refuse to be drawn in by songs of Gods and Monsters and who see free people as more important than nations. I’m on their side.
And there are sides. This is an old battle but it is still being fought. The terms change and mutate – but we can see romanticism in the defenders of religion, the homeopaths, the self-indulgent left and the extreme postmodernists. There are rationalists in satire and science. More relevantly, there are those in the music industry who mythologise themselves and their signings and, in doing so, exploit and damage the kids who pay them; old men who sell doomed dreams of Christs and Lucifers to prop up the meagre output of flawed and unwell stars. Is it enough, really, to pay lip service to an archetype and confuse intelligence with its appearance? That is what the romantics do now and they get away with it every day.
Morrissey sang, ‘England is mine’. I can’t ever say for certain what HE meant, but what it means is this: The non-mainstream view always being the mainstream view of the future and the mainstream view being therefore moribund and with no claim whatsoever to the character of any society – the dandy outsiders will inherit the England that will be, and are therefore the only ones who can possess it.
England is mine as it is the romantics’. The difference between us is that I couldn’t care less about my nation, its heroes or its myths – I only care about its liberty.
England’s mine, but there are more important things. They can have it – and they can do with it what they will.
The Indelicates x
12.02.07 – Grüner Jäger – Hamburg
13.02.07 – Hafen 2 – Offenbach
14.02.07 – Swamp – Freiburg
15.02.07 – Magnet – Berlin
16.02.07 – Cafe Cairo – Würzburg
17.02.07 – Prager Frühling – München
19.02.07 – Innsbruck
The Indelicates: Homepage mit vielen Demos als Mp3s