I don’t want to alarm you but I think I’ve caught ‘Dad’s Disease’. The symptoms are complex and age related but are generally revealed as a complete lack of interest in modern music. I remember seeing the signs develop in my own father back in the dim and distant past. When I was developing a burgeoning interest in the new fangled pop music in the 1960s he would’ve been in his forties yet he never failed to watch an episode of Top of the Pops on our ancient black and white telly every Thursday nor did he fail to listen to the chart rundown on a Sunday afternoon on the wireless.
It was in the late 1970s that things began to change. He rarely watched TOTP, despite the efforts of Legs & Co, and never listened to the radio. He had hit 50 and Dad’s Disease was developing from which he never recovered. As a fifty-something myself, I thought I’d avoided the dreaded ailment, but it seems to have got me in the end. It is the new season of ‘Later with Jools Holland’ that has me worried about a possible positive diagnosis. Jools’ TV show is a modern day version of ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’ where more ‘serious’ music is showcased in a live environment and it is a source of new material that has kept me in good stead over the years.
The first edition of this season’s show featured the following artists: Elbow, Beady Eye, Anna Calvi, Raphael Saadiq and The Tallest Man on Earth (Kristian Matsson). Normally I can find something to enjoy in any line-up but this lot just left me cold. Bland, bland, bland. Not a single note provoked my interest and I was bored stiff for a whole hour. That’s what Dad’s Disease does to you.
Beady Eye were, unsurprisingly, just a derivative sub-oasis clone churning out dated rock ‘n’ roll, Elbow were worthy and tried hard yet were ultimately a bit tedious, up & coming star Anna Calvi was dreadfully disappointing with not a decent melody to her name and Raphael Saadiq was a classic case of style and too much energy over content. The only glimmer was The Tallest man on Earth who almost had me interested, but then didn’t. Oh yes, and there were some old jazz players who could’ve been really good, but just weren’t.
Oh dear! What am I going to do? Encouragingly, my consultant says that it may not be Dad’s Disease after all but just a bit of a hiccough in the ‘Later’ scheduling exacerbated by a recent exposure to PJ Harvey’s ‘Let England Shake’. Nothing that a blast of something loud and edgy won’t cure. Let’s hope so. I’m still too young to be admitted to the ‘No Pop Music Here’ home for the permanently square.