Magazine article The Spectator

Should I Take Up Golf?

Magazine article The Spectator

Should I Take Up Golf?

Article excerpt

Now that there is no genuine pop radio any more - or, at least, none that adults can listen to without wanting to hit someone - there are fewer and fewer ways of discovering the wonderful new records that presumably exist out there but never quite complete the gruelling journey to our ears. Radio One has wilfully abandoned everyone over school-leaving age, while Radio Two still concentrates on its core audience of the elderly and the infirm. Commercial stations like Virgin seek to emulate Radio One's youth policy while patronising its older listeners with occasional snatches of Phil Collins and Eric Clapton. Most local BBC radio stations are so poor they can't afford to play records; most ILR stations seem to employ Dave Lee Travis. MTV rots the soul. And, according to every newspaper and magazine in the world, there's no new release more brave and exhilarating than Oasis's Be Here Now. No wonder record sales are plummeting.

The labels seem powerless to react. So tied are they into the pursuit of the young that they forget the vast bulk of thirtysomethings with too many credit cards and a desire to listen to something a little livelier than Classic FM. So they fob us off with duff soul like The Lighthouse Family or ever more desperate repackagings of ancient material. Out this week is David Bowie's Greatest Hits 1969-1974, which may not supersede his 28 previous greatest hits collections, but at least presents the songs in a slightly different order.

It's not a new problem. As I have noticed before, the pop market has been fragmenting over several years into a series of discrete and utterly dissimilar genres, whose associated sub-cultures help adolescents decide which clothes to wear and which drugs to take, but mean little to the rest of us. We try to keep up with new trends, we really do. But I defy anyone over 35 to admit they genuinely enjoy the dissonant, clattery rhythms of drum 'n' bass. …

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