A decade that lacks def­i­ni­tion

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

ISUP­POSE there is a kind of sym­me­try to the fact that a decade that be­gan with un­founded fears of the na­tion be­ing brought to a stand­still by a mil­len­nium bug is end­ing with sim­i­lar fears of an­other bug sweep­ing the na­tion. But when it comes to sum­ming up the “Noughties”, the ten­u­ous link be­tween a com­puter virus and a flu virus is about as far as I can get. I tend to look back and re­mem­ber decades in the con­text of mu­sic, which might ex­plain the dif­fi­culty I have try­ing to en­cap­su­late the defin­ing fea­tures of the past 10 years. So, the Sev­en­ties were about punk, once I’d over­come a brief flir­ta­tion with one or two du­bi­ous prog rock bands, the Eight­ies were dom­i­nated by syn­the­sis­ers and Live Aid, and the Nineties by Brit­pop and the Oa­sis-Blur feud. But the Noughties? I can’t – at least at this point – look back and de­cide what mu­si­cal phe­nom­e­non de­fined the Noughties. You can’t count Michael Jack­son’s death be­cause that brought down the cur­tain on a ca­reer rather than lift­ing one (and I cer­tainly won’t re­mem­ber it for be­ing the decade that wit­nessed the re­union of Span­dau Bal­let, though I bet they do). I sup­pose it has been the decade of re­al­ity TV pro­pel­ling un­knowns with some­times ques­tion­able tal­ents into the lime­light. That hardly seems a cul­tural phe­nom­e­non worth cel­e­brat­ing or defin­ing a decade. Per­haps the prob­lem is that there is now so much “prod­uct” out there and get­ting to it has never been eas­ier. Down­loads, ring­tones, re­al­ity TV shows, bands com­ing out of re­tire­ment, SuBo, box sets with pre­vi­ously un­re­leased out­takes of bands mak­ing tea – there’s al­most too much choice th­ese days. I’ve joined the revo­lu­tion and like every­one else, carry more or less my en­tire mu­sic col­lec­tion on an iPod or some other player. It’s great, of course, but dis­crim­i­na­tion rather goes out the win­dow, as does por­ing over 7in sleeves and al­bum liner notes. Per­haps the Noughties – at least in mu­si­cal terms – is the decade that showed that there can some­times be too much of a good thing. Or in the case of any­thing Si­mon Cow­ell might be con­nected with, too much of an av­er­age thing.

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