All the Young Dudes: Pop and Fashion

On the theme of keeping up appearances, Paul Morley’s programme on BBC Four, All the Young Dudes: Pop and Fashion showed how pop has changed. It was a surprise to learn that Slade really did select their own clothes and made themselves up. Why should I be surprised? Because I’ve accepted that pop is heavily controlled. There would be no fun being a celeb without the attention.

The show emphasised just how much pop has lost its spontaneity. Record company marketing and media people control every aspect. KT Tunstall revealed on Radio One that she was given a list of tunes her record company deemed right and proper for her to perform including a few Jackson Five songs. No surprises there. On Jools Holland I imagine a team of flunkies behind the camera making sure the investment isn’t shot rubbing their noses or scratching their arses. Sometimes I fancy I’ve seen a performer recoil when a PR person has taken fright behind the camera over their minor unconscious facial tick.

I like to think that every time Ian Curtis’s bundle of ungainly dance movements are shown, another PR person gets fired. Pretty soon the music industry is going to be forced to cash in on the Curtis industry and create a JD copiest band built on computer screen and controlled via Wii technology from behind the camera.

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