Thursday, August 09, 2007


I might be extremely pleasant, and indeed I am, yet it hasn't stopped me from calling Simon Reynolds on his bullshit.

Amidst the bad grammar and typos of one of his recent chewy posts, you notice there's no irony lost on this hapless yet harmless copy'n'paste merchant as he helpfully includes some definitions of Racket for us all, and thus allows us to enjoy one of those exquisite moments when the art itself acts not only as the reflection in the well, but the hands pushing him in. Makes it all worthwhile.

We can see that, in his usual slack sloppy style, Reynolds clearly doesn't know the lyrics ('why should I?' you can hear him protest, 'Gen's already told me everything I need to know'), for otherwise he'd soon realise that his own entire career is a poignant embodiment of the point he's trying to make; and the fourth applicable definition of Racket, sadly not included in his Collins, is an it he will never get, even if we were to dedicate a further three decades to it.


Sarah Trotsky said...

by fourth definition do you mean a sports implement (usually consisting of a handle and an
oval frame with a tightly interlaced network of strings)
used to strike a ball (or shuttlecock) in various games
or to celebrate noisily; engage in uproarious festivities?

both are good.

Thomas Transparent said...

I have a feeling I've said this before, but Simon Reynolds, as a music critic, really needs to be reminded of his place in the creative food chain- his relative value compared with even the worst of artists.

His obsession with drawing up his sterile musical hierarchies of relevance seems to me like an outgrowth of some misguided utopian delusion that music will 'save the world'- as if it ever really needed saving in the first place.

Anyway William, as enjoyable as it must be returning Reynolds' verbal volleys to him with compound interest, I think it's best to just ignore him until he begins saying things that are genuinely libelous. He needs us to validate his existence far more than we need him to "put things into perspective" for us, or to colonize our imaginations with unnecessary guideposts like this famous example.

David said...

William, as much fun as it is to shoot smelly fish in a barrel, particularly when they're half dead, I was a much happier man fifteen minutes ago, before I read his scribblings on that blog. I knew that 'they' (being the illiterate, boring and smug) were out there, but having it thrust upon me first thing in the morning was a bit much.

Even aside from his hilarious critique of 'Racket', his piece on the Velvets is probably the worst thing I've ever read on them in fifteen years, and believe me, that's saying something.

Richo said...

Everybody's entitled to their opinions, of course, but it's a shame so many of Reynolds' are bound by his tunnel vision. The very fact he seemed thrown by Whitehouse actually being, gosh, articulate and intelligent in the first place only goes on to illustrate how much he's ever really paid attention. I can understand why their work may not appeal to everybody, but dismissing it as "idiocy" serves this particular limpet no favours whatsoever.

Jack Sargeant said...

In No Direction Home there are several scenes where music journalists are interviewing BD. He gets asked about the symbolism of his t-shirt on Highway 61, he gets asked how many folk singers there are like him ("about 137" BD replies). One journalist also ask him if his older records were better?

And after the legendry Judas incident, he turns to the musicans and says:"Play it fucking loud" before plowing into Like A Rolling Stone.

N.Brown said...

Simon Reynolds is an overrated fool who many pretensious under-sexed music overanalysers hold up on a pedestal. I remember first reading his flowery analsyses of techno records in the Melody Maker, early 90s, and thinking "god damn...this is the kind of guy who would go to a rave and get sold paracetamols".

The thing is William old chap, Reynolds is one of the lucky ones who managed to get a lucrative journo career going before the advent of the Internet...see Paul Morley and other similar cats also. If they were setting up shop nowadays, they'd be blogging for zero cash, or subbing free articles to Pitchfork, in obscurity.

you were good in Leeds the other week btw. i'm a pal of Adam's, hello!