Something terrible has happened. I need women to STFU. Of course I don’t mean all women. Women should be noisy and joyful and all things we want to be. I mean the flimsy, fat-free worm-strings who have somehow insinuated themselves into the advertising industry and who are systematically destroying all that is glorious and muscular and musical and male, and my sanity in the process.
Which oily spiv adjusted his or her balls or spanx and leaned across the table to his or her Pilate-latte chums and said – ya! Let’s get into bed with this! Girls singing man songs! Squeaky girls! Girls who have learned three guitar chords! Girls! I want girls in lace, white girls, girls who don’t perspire or pee or indeed have any orifices except the one miserable, pouting raspberry-glossed exit from which they will excrete the crime against masculinity we will now create! Girl power! But Lite! Mwuhahahah!
The crimes? John Lewis started it, probably. Christmas advert 2011: The Smiths. Please Please Let Me Get What I Want. ‘See the luck I’ve had could make a good man turn bad.’ Take that poetic interior decay of a man, stick it in a lollipop purse, and add the voice of a whimsical, spineless, gymkhana pony and there lies an achievement so magnificent: to emasculate even Morrissey, whilst simultaneously propping up the savage, consumerist monsters he despises. Someone who calls herself Slow Moving Millie managed that. I’ve just googled her. Horrible. A mogadon made flesh. Slow Moving Millie has made an album called Renditions – well done, snappy title – and she’s sitting in a velvet chair looking meaningful, but perhaps she’s just suffering from a vintage lace wedgie and the sound of tumbleweed rolling through her soul.
Then John Lewis did it again. Christmas advert, again. The Power of Love, original by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Listen to the original – it’s an homage to gay male sex, for God’s sake. Raw, proper, masculine, earthquaking sexual love. Willies everywhere. Two fingers (at least) to HIV, to AIDS, to homophobia, to hetero hypocrisy. John Lewis took that anthem and gave it to someone called Gabrielle Aplin and reduced it to a puddle of last week’s oestrogen. A winceyette nightie. A dribble. I’ve just googled Gabby and she’s sitting all miserable and thoughtful in an abandoned warehouse, poor love, whilst someone plays horrible arpeggios on a piano. She’s got very clean bare feet, though. Perhaps she’s wondering where she left her ballet pumps. Perhaps she’s worried she left the iron on. I know I get like that whenever I’m stuck in an abandoned warehouse.
The horror continues. Whining Whinnie Williams, a shiny new car advert and a swift, merciless castration of the Jam’s That’s Entertainment. That’s fucking illegal, Whining, and you should be put down in the tube station at midnight and left there with the soot and rats to rot. Listen to the lyric, you insufferable fondant filly. The fury, the coruscating sarcastic rage Paul Weller so elegantly and poetically spits. Does Whining sing ‘pissing down with rain on a boring Wednesday’? Does she sing ‘Lights going out and a kick in the balls.’ ?
Oh the irony. The kick is delivered thirty five years later, just when she’s finished sticking sparkly hearts onto her fingernails and getting her fucking poodle back from the fucking curly-perms-for-dogs shop. (I’ve just made the mistake of googling her. She wears a bow in her hair. She literally wears a bow in her hair.) She’s got a song called ‘Break Hearts in Your Sleep.’ (No, I can’t bear to listen to it.) You know what women really break in their sleep, Whining? WIND. We BREAK WIND. God help me.
But now I’m even more confused. The men are getting in on the act. That Chanel no 5 advert. Are they serious? Can anything ever, in the history of all that is fashion and perfume and advertising be any more up its own tubular bells than this? You’re The One That I Want. Grease. Sandy and Danny. That joyful explosion of sound and colour, of unstoppable teenage energy – reduced to a turgid, funerial creep, and sung by one too, by the looks of him. It’s a 45 played at 33 rpm with added valium, rocks in its pockets, thrown into a derelict mineshaft. It’s rock and roll’s fly-blown carcass dragged through a primordial bog by a – no, I don’t have any more words. I’m done.
Yet – yet – my fury is totally and utterly pointless. The joke is on me, of course it is. They all gave the nod to these songs being fouled. They let it happen. They jumped into bed with oily and Pilate-latte with not a backwards glance at the broken landscape of 1980s Britain. How much money did they make? Who knows. Squillions. Holly, Paul, Morrissey – they don’t care. They do not care one little bit. They’re laughing, laughing at me, at us, at our ideology, at our conviction that music could and would lead a revolution of thought, would give boys and girls the route out of expectations they could never conform to, that we could imagine a life above and beyond the class or school or whatever private hell we were born into.
These icons of anti-establishment fury, these male wonders, the men who swaggered, shouted, channelled and gave voice to our dreams – they’ve sold it all to the simpering sniffle that is Girl-Lite for a bucketful of Christmas coins.
Goodwill to all.