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Grow Up & Act Your Age

By Phil Thornton


That’s the ultimate parental put down and one I’ve used myself when the 17 year old is yelling childish insults to her 11 year old sister, as if I’m any yardstick of maturity. I’ve always believed in that old clichι ‘you’re only as old as you feel’ or as Mae West put it ‘as old as the man you feel’ not that I’d be feeling any men you understand but y’know I know where’s she’s coming from like. So, as a paid up member of the 42 year old Big Kids club (we meet every second Tuesday as the bus shelter by the offy), maybe I’m the last person to throw stones from my own glass wendy house but here goes anyway.


Jo Whiley - Grow Up And Act Your Age!!


Look, I love pop music too and does Paul Morley and Jon Savage and loads of other big time clever clogs and there’s nothing wrong with that, pop music is our cultural benchmark, what we grew up on and how we decided which youth tribe to belong to but that’s no reason to treat every silly little teenage/20 something singer songwriter like they’re fucking John Lennon or Leonard Cohen and every fucking karaoke indie band like they’re the missing link between the Velvets and er, Stump or someone. This whopper has had a charmed life ever since she wormed her way onto The Word as some kind of musical booking guru. Basically that involved putting whoever was the NME’s flavour of the month on Channel 4 and then basking in the reflective glory; Nirvana! Wow, they rocked! Oasis, wow, they rolled! Little Jimmy Osmond, wow he bummed! Jo’s interviewing technique is so lame, so shallow, insincere and suck holing that she makes Fearne Cotton sound like Kirsty Wark. But atleast Fearne Cotton is a product of her age, the clueless, zero attention span, all posture, Hollyoaks/Skins gesture generation where everything is ‘Cool!’. Jo Whiley is older than me! She grew up with The Beatles and Bowie and The Pistols and the Smiths and The Mondays and Public Enemy and Rage Against The Machine and a thousand and one other bands and artists with which to put today’s plazzy pups into context, but that’s not her job I suppose.


No she’s clung onto that coveted afternoon spot on Wunnerful Radio 1 and those Glastonbury presenting gigs by being Smiley Whiley, utterly bland, vaguely pretty in an ageing indie chick kinda way and as girlishly excited by the lead singer of the Kooks today as she would’ve been with Laurence from Felt 20 years ago. Maybe that should be endearing but somehow it comes across as juvenile, silly and just a bit desperate. All these Radio 1 Djs are very bit as vacuous and laughable as the Smash & Nicey brigade of yore, all totally self-obsessed and interested in themselves and their careers far more than the music they are forced to play. Jo Whiley at her age should’ve made the transition to 6digital or Radio 2 by now with the rest of her generation of Mojo/Q/Uncut bores. There’s nothing wrong with being a) female and b) devoted to pop music - someone like Annie Nightingale or even Mary Ann Hobbs prove that you don’t have to become entombed by the past, that you can stay contemporary and relevant and that age is no barrier to good taste. However, I suspect that even given totally free reign Jo Whiley would still play Coldplay and The Enemy.              


Dickheads In Their Late 30s On Skateboards - Grow Up & Act Your Age.  


Somehow it’s OK for fellars in their 40, 50s or 60s to still be surfing because surfing is something you do out in the fucking ocean, away from everyday normal folk, the non-surfing squares who don’t find the thought of half drowning on a slab of fibre glass to be the ultimate in anti-authoritarianism. Snowboarding’s a similar sketch - just another bunch of over-privileged posing pricks with too much time on their hands camouflaging their decadent indulges under the pretence of being an ’alternative lifestyle maaaan.’ That’s OK cos I’m never likely to bump into either a surfer or a skateboarder in inner city Liverpool. However, up by those stupid stone suitcases up by the art school every school holidays there appears a flock of skater types (the collective noun for skaters? A twat of skaters?) determined to break the Queens’ Peace with their stupid fucking clacking half-jugs, 360 head-grips and 920 double-cunts ( I made those up). They even have their own plazzy bizzie patrol to warn em off.


OK, so these 15 kids think they’re sticking it to the man by going down Duke Street on a fucking plank at 50 mph and that’s OK, they’ve got A levels and careers as middle managers in privatised utility companies to look forward to so let em have a bit of fun while they can. No, it’s these fellars with receding Swedes, Bape tees and ten sizes too big baggies who I object to. Fellars who no doubt formed that third wave of UK skaters sometime in the late 80s/early 90s who took over from the 70s proto nerds and the 80s Metallists and got hooked on that California Dreaming Dogtown Utopia of blunted hip hop beatz and lazy days skating around their hoods as the sun goes down and the Tequila comes out. That may indeed seem like an urban idyll in Santa Monica or somewhere but not on Upper Parly. These skate vets appear to disdain the younger crowd and like to look all cool and aloof yet find no shame in having their names taken down by a hideous Community Support Officer full of self-righteous Daily Mail indignation and given section 43 tickets for the crime of attempting a triple shit-melt on a bench outside the Philharmonic. Like that’s soooooo unfair maaaaaan! We just doing our thing. For once, I’m with the bizzie son this - go and do it on a fucking ramp down the stupid skate park with the rest of the 12 year olds and stop trying to make out you’re some kind of urban rebels fighting the power in your shite 120 quid dickhead pumps.      






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