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Devils Island Discs.

Everyone loves lists. Well, here another one of mine – but this time it’s personal. Below are the pieces of music I would least like to be marooned with on that desert island owned by Radio 4. These are works I find offensive, boring and utterly risible in every respect. They are an insult to melody, harmony and rhythm.

Burt Bacharach / James Last / Mantovani / Klaus Wunderlich etc.

This is really the same piece of music spread over dozens of cheap and nasty vinyl records which made my life miserable during the late 1960s when I was a wee, impressionable wean whose parents were to culture what the ku klux klan are to the equal opportunities policy.

Guns & Roses (or any other plastic cock rock outfit who have neither the imagination nor the bollocks to be a genuine heavy metal band).

Take a heavy metal band. Right, that’s sufficiently wretched already but we’re going to make it even worse. Now remove any intelligent or interesting lyrics (no, really, there are occasions when, perhaps by accident, a heavy metal group writes a lyric with intelligence in it – they always apologise afterwards, of course). Then fashion each track to make sure it sounds just like the previous one. Now increase the egos of each band member (to compensate for their lack of ability, originality and intellectual acuity). Right, by now it’s looking pretty abysmal, isn’t it? Well, let’s add a 1980s slick production and plaster the record covers with images designed to induce intense vomiting. There – done. What remains? Just the medical research laboratory – remove all the cats, rats and mice and replace them with the members of Guns & Roses so that, at last, they are finally able to make a useful contribution to society.

Anything played on the show Artrocker on Resonance.

Rumours that the groups featured are actually different bands are unfounded. This is actually the same bunch of snotty little white middle class teenage creeps who, devoid of a single original idea, simply turn the volume up and shout about nothing. It is the moronic, tedious noise of punk rock but with all the personality, character and interesting bits (such as they are) stringently removed.

Almost everything played on the Johnny Trunk OST show on Resonance.

Miserable, middle of the road, Radio 2 pop pap circa 1966 – 1970, preferably European, preferably from some dreadful films that everyone loathed even when they were first released – that is what we have to endure for the 2 bloody hours the show lasts and it is also the reason why this is one of only 2 programmes broadcast by Resonance (the other is Artrocker) that I have to turn off when it comes on. There has been some truly magnificent film music composed over the past 100 years. Mr Trunk, however, is amazingly skilful in managing to avoid virtually all of it. In this manner he is able to subject us to 120 minutes of dreary, third rate 1960s pop dross that pollutes the air and should be expelled, in the interests of the ecology, from existence along with CFC’s, car fumes and fast food multinational corporations.

Bad Company / Status Quo / Whitesnake (i.e. 1970s cock rock).

I was tempted to include Led Zeppelin here since arguably they started all this nonsense but, unlike the bands mentioned above, they at least managed to write 1 ½ tracks that are (almost) worth remembering and are (nearly) listenable, namely Immigrant Song and part of Four Sticks. Perhaps their fans would point to Whole Lotta Love as a memorable anthem – well, no, it was actually written by Muddy Waters in 1958 but the band simply credited their own names as the writers so they could take the credit for it and, naturally, accrue a profit for the band by denial of the royalties owed to Muddy Waters himself. These same fans will scratch their heads (being allergic to soap) and point to Black Mountain Side for originality – well, no, that was actually written by John Fahey in 1966 but the band decided to credit themselves with its composition and (see above). Well, at least the 3 bands named in the title wrote their own music. Yes…pity, that.

Death In June / Current 93 / Sol Invictus and all the neo-folk nazi uniform brigade

World Serpent was a wretched little record label – now thankfully defunct but then it always was – which specialised in releasing records by white middle class brats who, armed with some books by Crowley, Anton Le Vey and a catalogue of world war two German uniforms (the Göbbels summer offensive collection), had barely a single interesting idea in their pointed little heads and even less musical ability. Since many of the generally boring, tired old men involved with the whole World Serpent industrial noise acoustic guitar valium dreary dirge neo-folk failed nazi pantomime have now been interviewed regularly in a show on Resonance each Friday night, it has become evident that even though this whole squalid scene is a tiny clique of people scared to live in the real world, most of them have formed miserable little cliques within this and you can guarantee whoever is interviewed this week will slag off whoever was on last week or due to appear next week. Only 2 people who have appeared on this rather sad little show have revealed at least a hint of a personality and haven’t sounded as if they are at death’s door – Rose McDowall and Karl Blake. Also, most weeks, no matter who is being interviewed, the obsequious presenter (whose ability to drool like a total sycophant before his hero is trouser foulingly nauseous) reaches a part of the programme where he feels obliged to inform the listeners that the chap being interviewed isn’t really a nazi and his band weren’t really fascists, they were simply misunderstood…like Death In June and their Brown Book album, I suppose? But surely, if there isn’t a fascist element in much of this ‘music’, it would not be necessary to deny the accusations so often? I mean to say, I have the complete studio recordings of Skrewdriver so I’ve no problem with people expressing their political beliefs truthfully, be they communists, anarchists or fascists – but for Pan’s sake, be open and honest about it, have the damned decency to stand up like a real man and say what you believe. That’s why I respect Skrewdriver and that’s why I despise the Death In June / Current 93 / World Serpent mob for being the cowardly pussies they all are.

Andy Martin – October 2007.



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