‘We don’t need no educashun!’ sang the Pink Floyd somewhat ungrammatically and looking at their bank balance you felt they had a point.
But does education really have a place in pop music? I can’t help feeling that somewhere along the line pop music has become a little too worthy. I blame LiveAid (1985 for those old enough to remember) for trying to raise the stature of the medium out of the ‘purely for enjoyment’ category into the ‘take us seriously’ category. It seems that everywhere you look and this includes music, everything has to be educational rather than just plain fun. There is something of the intrusion of the Nanny State at work here. You can imagine the scene in Nurseries everywhere:
All together now kiddies…
‘Hey Hey we’re the Anthropoid Apes,
And people say we primate around,
But we’re too busy learning,
To put anybody down.’
Perhaps all music outlets should become a branch of Early Learning then we’d all know where we stand. Toys long ago became instruments of ‘Education’ so that we cannot buy anything for a pre-schooler without it having to teach them something. My own experience reveals that toddlers generally ignore these overpriced teaching aides and continue to play quite happily with cardboard boxes and wrapping paper thus learning a basic British right – to be suspicious of all authority.
Which is why I really can’t get to grips with politics in music, there’s too much preciousness involved and it turns me off. We have that stuff breathing down our necks all the time, the last place I need it is entertainment. But what I really don’t need is some earnest teenager ramming a non-too subtle ‘message’ down my throat. Comment on the state of the union by all means but don’t preach otherwise I’m off to play with the cardboard boxes.
Let’s be clear, I have no quibble with those who make a general observational protest in lyrical form – Nerina Pallot’s ‘Everybody’s Gone to War’ is a good example – but I really don’t want to spend money on a CD that then accuses me directly of creating all the world’s ills. It’s not all my fault, honest! Nor do I take kindly to being told to give money to various causes by rock stars who could probably finance the problem out of existence, personally.
So, where were we? Oh yes…
‘Hey Hey we’re the Monkees,
And people say we Monkee around,
But we’re too busy singing,
To put anybody down.’