psyche

Through a pulpy prism

Is it just me, or are the retro-revival cycles getting shorter? I was at the Pulp show in Sydney last night and it felt as though Pulp’s seventies aesthetic in the nineties had skipped a generation and come to land on the noughteen bodies of people who I am not quite old enough to have conceived.

I think the only performance I really enjoyed was I Spy. I guess at one level it was yet another flourescent-lasered nod to the nineties rave culture that Pulp are supposed to be a reference to; yet another point where the band played up to the caricature of itself that one finds in official accounts of Britpop and The Nineties. However. I was feeling empty enough by then to appreciate the emptiness being played back to me via Jarvis’ gynaecological treatment of the song. Further, said canto had lost none of its vintage bile; and, as I was shoved up against the stage in a slew of trolleyed-and-teased young ladies, it was quite satisfying to spit the words out while they took pictures of each other dancing.

When Jarvis quoted Jean Baudillard I am pretty sure I gagged. A Nineties theorist for a Nineties Nostalgia Singalong. Wasn’t it dirty back then. I suppose the lovely, tinkly Common People ghost-riff that was playing before the curtain went up might have prepared me for the haunted-by-disappearance thing.

I don’t quite agree with Hatherley that This is Hardcore is ‘about’ pr0nogarphy (that practice so apparently banalised that it cannot speak its name on this forum!). I’m not so taken with the idea of pr0n as the logical metaphor for “taking it all the way down to the marrowbone”; as a driven, tragic and eminently repeatable attempt by Men to reach the Real. Hatherley suggests that it presages the globalisation of the industry, of iPr0nisation; but for me that song feels much more ephemerally about the end of certain contracts than the clinical penetration-and-exhaustion of them.

And if something has ended, what exactly do you do for an encore? That, I suppose.

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