quick check — Paul Morley: a writer’s writer

Oh, it’s been a busy day, and I’m a bit late getting to my weekly Sunday musing. As I noted in last Sunday’s post, I want to connect my Sunday posts to Stealing All Transmissions (the book), and to post something “multi-media” connected to chapter 1 in January, chapter 2 in February, etc.

Perhaps no other writer blew my pea brain into smithereens than Paul Morley in Words and Music: A History of Pop in the Shape of a City (2003) (review here). morleyIt’s a masterful book, and one day I hope to find an afternoon to muster the consideration it deserves. In brief: find a few hours (this is of course after you read my book — haha) to alternate reading the book and sitting in front of youtube, working your way through the lists he provides for each key year in pop, from 1624 through 2001. Then, for the truly dedicated, you can get after the lists at the back of the book on various themes, which I have yet to even crack.

Above all else, Morley gives Kraftwerk their due, and his devotion is profound, and inspired the following passage:

“The source of [Kraftwerk’s] pop, then, was not blues, soul, America, beat, sex, love cliche — it was art, noise, technology, ideas. Their music was a completely new model, based on a fantasy of what pop music might have sounded like had it not begun in the blues, in wood, in anger, in lust, in sexual frenzy, in poverty. What if it began in the avant-garde, in metal, in celebration, in abstract art, in universal awe, in modern comfort laced with psychology anxiety.”
(p. 125)

Chew on that for a spell. For my taste, it doesn’t get much juicier or delightful.

Here’s a more recent piece to get you started on Morley’s handiwork.

And, for those of you looking for news on The Clash or punk, check out this composition, which confirms the alternate history of September 21 I proposed in Stealing All Transmissions.


Author: stealingalltransmissions

CA ex-pat loving life in Northeast Ohio. Like most of you, I write stuff.

2 thoughts on “quick check — Paul Morley: a writer’s writer”

  1. I’m a huge fan of Paul Morley and read anything of his I can get my hands on – as infuriating as his writing style can be sometimes, there’s really no one like him. I must get round to reading my copy of Words and Music one day. I keep starting it, then getting frustrated with his shtick, and putting it down again. That said I love his book called Nothing. Thanks for posting, fellow admirer. Cheers!

    1. Tony,

      Thanks for tuning in! I don’t know that it’s actually appropriate to read W&M beginning-to-end, but perhaps treat it like a string of musical samples, to check out in small bits, and take from it what you will. It’s also a great way to put youtube to good use, working your way through the lists. I hope you get a chance to check out *Stealing,* and look forward to hearing from you again.

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