News Team Current issue History Online Support Download Forum @Pouet

01 - 02 - SE - 03 - 04 - 05 - 06 - 07 - 08 - 09 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14

Alive 13

hate and bile!!

                            DECONSTRUCTING SANDI THOM!
                                   (with a hammer!)

Just  occasionally,  you  get  my thoughts on musical appreciation,  when  a
REALLY  GREAT  bangin' chune comes on the old radio.  You all fondly  recall
when  I  said  what a good chap and great tunester  that  Bryan  Adams  was.
Something about sharp carving knives (to use on him) and sick-buckets (If  I
can't cope anymore) got into the article at some point.

Since then, things have got worse, a lot worse...

Just  lately,  a  young  lady with a  guitar  and faux Joni  Mitchell  vocal
delivery  has been coming to my notice.  Well I've not been given the choice
with the usual practice of playlisting by bovine deejay's told by the record
label  to  hype the next 'big thing'.  Actually I've been keeping  my  radio
listening to a minimum since she released or "escaped" this song.  This next
"Big thing" is a heartfelt plea for authenticity, apparently.

I'm  talking about Sandi Thom,  a young lady born in 1981,  waxing nostalgic
about  a  time  before she was born in a song called "I Wish I  Was  A  Punk
Rocker  (With  Flowers In My Hair)",  and doing it lazily (but we'll get  to
that shortly),  and making out that she's a poor struggling artiste. when in
reality,  her  rise  to power is slightly less spontaneous and  casual  than
a summer picnic organised by Simon Cowell and Alan Sugar.

                 "Stop singing, it makes people happy!"

I'm  reproducing  and commenting on the lyrics on a verse  by  verse  basis,
there is SO much wrong here,  I hardly know where to start.

     I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair)

"Oh  I  wish  I  was a punk rocker with flowers in my  hair, In  77  and  69
revolution was in the air,I was born too late to a world that doesn't  care,
Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair."

This is the chorus, with the song title, the oft-repeated thematic glue that
holds the rest of it together.The first thing that struck me was that I don't
remember  Punks  and  Hippies ever getting on with each other.  In  fact  my
"actually  being  alive  in  1977 memory"  recalls  the  punk  movement  was
violently  opposed  to  the peace and love part of  the  hippie  agenda.  If
hippies were organised enough to have an agenda, which in Ms Thom's enclosed
world in her head,  they probably,  depressingly,  would be.  It's a case of
lazily  mixing  two distinct and different periods of youth  rebellion  into
one,  in  some  marketing  jargon  bollocks called  "Fusion  revolution"  or
something. I bet there's some record company fuckhead who's actually come up
with that as a catchphrase, and he's very pleased with himself for it.


There's more sarcastic gold to be mined from the rest of the chorus,  but it
can wait!

There's always this version ;-)
    ,____       ,            .         :'                             ':
    \    \      |          _.;..;._    | Oh I wish I was a seventies   |
     \ _  \ _    \ _      / __  __ \   | botherer, without a clue      |
      '_'  '_'    '_'     )<@.||.@>:  /  in my head!                   |
                          \   Oo   / //:._____________________________.:
                           ('<__>') //
                   *     _ '-\__/-' _
                  /     /--X /  \ X--\
                 /|     \    \  /    /
                  |     [],   ||   ,[]
                  '     []|   ''   |[]
                  |     []'~~~[]~~~'[]
                  |     /> \  /\  / <\
                  |        | |  | |
                  |        '='  '='
  ------~~~~---- === ---- /_/ ---\_\ -----~~~~-------~~~~-----

Ok, first verse coming up...

"When the head of state didn't play guitar,  Not everybody drove a car, When
music really mattered and when radio was king,  When accountants didn't have
control,  And  the  media couldn't buy your soul,  And computers were  still
scary and we didn't know everything."

The  first  line is a bit I can agree with,  "When the head of state  didn't
play guitar".  That's Mr Tony smugly smiley Blair she's on about. But saying
that,  she's  set herself against the baby boomer generation she admires  so
much,  of which Mr Blair is a part, who are clinging to their youth, failing
to grow up, and destroying the utopian dream in the process. So I guess this
song is a subtle satire telling  the more astute listener,  that the Boomers
fucked things up bigtime for the  people  after. On the other hand, I've got
the horrible feeling she's playing it totally straight and there's NO hidden
meaning in there!

"When music really mattered", yes it's really horrible being alive now, when
there's  lots  of  different artistic and cultural things in  all  sorts  of
different media going on.  I've always found people "Into music" and nothing
else to be a bit one-dimensional and obsessive.

As  for  the  bits about accountants and media, which bit of the sixties and
seventies  did  accountants  not  have control over? Ooh, that must be, erm,
none of it! And the media, sorry, always shitting on people they don't like!

The last line makes me laugh, ooh, scary computers the size of a house, with
big  banks of tape reels showering sparks over men in white lab  coats,  and
powered by steam! So she's rubbishing a gadget which has really changed some
things  for the better.  Perhaps the real "Scary Computers" are the  servers
which made her webcasts,  and subsequent rise to national annoyance possible
in the first place?!

And quite without warning, here she is again.

"Oh  I  wish  I  was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair,  In  77  and  69
revolution was in the air,I was born too late to a world that doesn't  care,
Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair."

Second  iteration  of  annoying  chorus,  and we're on the  subject  of  the
respective  dress  codes of Punks vs Hippies.  I really don't  remember  any
punks with flower in their hair. Spit in their hair, yes. I think if someone
calling  themselves  "punk" in 1977 had been caught with  flowers  in  their
hair, the following might have happened.


Real  Punk - "Oi,  you wiv' the flowers in yer hair!  You takin' the piss or

Sandi - "Oh I wish I was a Punk Rocker with Flowers in my hair.."

Real Punk - "Right, cummere you sad git!" - THUMP!! KICK!!

Ready for the next verse yet? Oh well, here it comes anyway...

  "When popstars still remained a myth,  And ignorance could still be bliss,
And  when God Save the Queen she turned a whiter shade of pale,  When my mom
and dad were in their teens, And anarchy was still a dream, And the only way
to stay in touch was a letter in the mail."

This next verse is in the bollocks superleague. For the first line, actually
I'm sure we're all better off now that Gary Glitter has been "de-mythed"  as
someone  who would shag anything impressionable and underage.  the music biz
seems  to attract a lot of dodgy people in a flies to a shit-pile  scenario!
I'm  also personally relieved that the days of hanging onto every  utterance
from these twat-merchants, as if they were living gods who had to be obeyed,
has passed by too.  It's  quite  liberating to be able to make fun of people
like Elton John and Bono.  which  is  one of the really great things of 21st
century life!

And no way can ignorance be bliss.  Unless you are a blindfolded Sandi Thom,
cunningly released onto a motor vehicle superhighway, with a forty tonne hgv
stuffed  with cheapo dvd players and illegal immigrants bearing down on  her
in an out of control and brakes failed fashion!

The  third line with 'God save the queen' makes no sense at all.  She  might
well  turn a 'whiter shade of pale' if she was in 1976 and was able  to  see
into the future and what a great job her family made of it?  We waft through
the  lightly platitudinous next couple of lines,  to where "the only way  to
stay in touch was a letter in the mail." So that's harking back to when  the
only  option was the post office,  which was even more up its own arse  than
now,  with  the  sort  of customer "service" which involved  treating  their
captive  sheep  like  shit and being on strike most of the  time!

And what's with this  "Mom and dad"  business,  sounds a bit Americanised to
me? Sounds like a precalculated attempt to break into the US market, and not
at all homespun and authentic really, doesn't it!

"Oh  I  wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair,  In  77  and  69
revolution was in the air,I was born too late to a world that doesn't  care,
Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair."

Chorus again,  she's sounding more and more like an episode of "Grumpy young
women",  isn't she?   "Bahh, I preferred the olden days, huge shirt collars,
casual  homophobia,  'Love  thy Neighbour' on the tele,  and those crap boxy
cars  with  the life expectancy of a Kinder egg.  It's all the fault of  the
nig-nogs!  We need a good war to sort them out!" Never mind, here's a parody
that someone else did, which is much better.

"i  wish i was a caveman with mud in my hair.  you could get a dinosaur steak
for  fifty  pence.  the  only way to communicate was  by  smoke-signals  and
grunts.  the  kids were wearing hand-me-down animal skins and kicking skulls

Ok, fun part over, we're back to the real thing (depressingly).

"When record shops were on top,  and vinyl was all that they stocked, and the
super info-highway was still drifting out in space,  kids were wearing hand-
me-downs, And playing games meant kick arounds, And footballers who had long
hair and dirt across their face."

She's having a go at the good old internets now. That must be some different
internets,  from  the  internets that she used to webcast  and  self-promote
with.  Talk  about  biting  the  hand that feeds you.  But if there  was  no
internets, there would be no Sandi Thom, ooh, that's a bastard dilemma! Tell
you  what,  let's  keep the internets,  we can always drown her warbly weedy
whining out if you pump up the volume on Nectarine to eleven!

And  record  shops,  I remember them,  even back then,  being divided into a
handful of ok-ish independents who were open for about a day and a half  per
week,  and  a heck of a lot of pisspoor large chains,  plugging for all they
were worth what they were told to sell by "The Man".

Another forum correspondent was moved to say that this song had stopped them
from buying vinyl forever! Which is as fair a comment as you can get.

There are still kids games going on in the street,  just that 'kick arounds'
are  done  to people,  and not footballs!  And the whole episode filmed  for
later amusement on the latest Nokia of course!

And as for footballers, you might find a lot of them still have weird stupid
hair  nowadays,  but  not necessarily in a nasty Kevin Keegan  mullet  style

"Oh  I  wish  I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair,  In  77  and  69
revolution was in the air,I was born too late to a world that doesn't  care,
Oh  I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair.  I was born too late
to a world that doesn't care,  Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in
my hair."

It's  the  end chorus now,  the pain relief is close to hand,  and a nagging
thought finally reaches full clarity and bursts through my subconcious.  Why
doesn't  the girl stop whining about a golden age which has been  and  gone,
and was probably overrated to begin with. In fact, why not get on with doing
your own thing, and.....

MAKE  A SUBCULTURE OF YOUR OWN!!  (and make sure it is completely  original,
and not referring to something else done already..)

(If they were so great,  well why are you prattling on about how crap things
are right now? Maybe they had something to do with that?!)

AND CEASE THIS POINTLESS WHINING NOW!!  (Ahh,  it is *profitable* whining, I

And  one  final (20th June) note,  THANK YOU to Nelly Furtado,  for knocking
this misery-heap off the top of the singles chart.You can have my babies for
carrying out that single selfless action! Whaddya mean "no"?!

Nelly Furtado loses a bet not to laugh out loud when reading Sandi Thom's

CiH, for Alive Mag, June '06..

Alive 13